On September 11, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed regulation that would greatly expand the collection and use of biometric data in the administration and enforcement of immigration laws. If implemented as proposed, this new rule would have a significant impact on any individual interacting with the immigration system. The rule would, in part:
- Require that any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, beneficiary, or individual filing for an immigration benefit or associated with any immigration benefit or request, including U.S. citizens, appear for a biometrics appointment.
- Expand the collection of data to include not just fingerprints but iris images, palm prints, and voice prints.
- Give DHS the authority to require, request, or accept DNA test results to prove the existence of a claimed genetic relationship.
- Modify how VAWA and T nonimmigrant petitioners demonstrate good moral character, as well as remove the presumption of good moral character for those under the age of 14.
Many organizations, entities, and individuals have voiced serious concerns regarding the privacy and security threats posed by such large-scale data collection.
While the comment period for this proposed rule has ended, Joseph & Hall will continue to monitor this proposal and provide updates should the new rule go into effect.