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Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Department of Homeland Security Looking To Use Portalbe DNA Scanners

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:17 PM
Friday, July 27, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security, is studding the possible use of a scanner that could map out DNA in less than an hour.  The device is portable and about the size of a desktop printer and is being built by Network Biosystems (or NetBio). The idea is to use the scanner on asylum seekers and refugees.  Current technology enables determinations of relationships between parents and children or among siblings, but it does not effectively prove distant relationships.

The device has explosive potential for misuse. John Verdi, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, stated that, “there are a lot of legal and constitutional hurdles that would have to be overcome for it to be lawfully used.” Not to mention the publics perception based on the reaction to the advanced X-ray devices deployed by the Transportation Security Administration last year.

As a matter of fact, the TSA made a preemptive statement after word of the device emerged. Curtis Burns stated on the company’s blog that the scanner is for use by a TSA sister agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which plans to use it to test for family relationships for foreigners applying for asylum or refugee status. In a direct statement Burns wrote, “TSA is not testing and has no plans to use any technology capable of testing DNA.”

DHS spokesman Chris Ortman said, ”the DHS Science and Technology Directorate expects to receive a prototype DNA analyzer device this summer to conduct a preliminary evaluation of whether this kind of technology could be considered for future use.” He went on to state that, ”at this time, there are no DHS customers, nor is there a timeline for deployment, for this kind of technology this is simply a preliminary test of how the technology performs.”

DHS would be required to meet the federal requirements for the protection of personally identifiable information stipulated by the Privacy Act of 1974.  According to Verdi, ”those requirements and obligations have to be observed. The department would be well advised to vet this technology through its privacy committees and its internal privacy apparatus. In addition, there needs to be independent oversight of a program like this. There needs to be oversight by lawmakers and oversight by citizens who are experts in these areas of technology, health records, and security to ensure the agency is not collecting data, retaining data, or sharing data contrary to law and regulation.”

Read more:
Computer World
Fox News

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Bribes For Visas At German Embassies

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:04 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reported in the New York Times in December 2010, public prosecutors in Berlin are investigating allegations that staff in some German embassies took bribes in exchange for issuing visas.

According the the Foreign Ministry local staff in German embassies in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa hacve issued visas in exchange for money and have overlooded false statemenst and did not properly review applications. These allegations have already brought about the dissmisal of some employees and investications are ongoing.

Police suspect that human trafficking networks seeking to bring women to work as prostitutes where being run from with in Germany and were using bribes to gain visas.  Officials cannot say how many visas were issued in exchange for bribes.

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Priority Three Immigration

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:40 PM
Friday, January 7, 2011

Humanitarian efforts can be very delicate issues, and the U.S. State Department’s suspension of the East African family-reunification (or Priority Three) is a prime example. The program, was instituted to reunify families from civil war-torn areas with relatives living in the U.S..  The program was suspended in March of 2008 and has not been reopened at this time.

According to the State Department in February of 2009:

There are currently three priorities or categories of cases that have access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Priority One and Two applicants are granted access to the program through an individual referral by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a U.S. Embassy or qualified NGO, or by membership in a group of cases designated as having access to the program by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement. Priority Three, or P-3, refers to individual cases from eligible nationalities who are granted access for purposes of family reunification with certain legal residents in the United States.

The State Department decided to preform DNA test on the P-3 starting with the embassy in Kenya to test for fraud.  What they discovered is that the rate of fraud varied from country to country but they were able to confirm biological relationships between fewer than 20% of the cases tested (family units outside the U.S.).

The suspension of this program effects families in a variety of locations including:  Afghanistan,  Bhutan,  Burma,  Burundi,  Central African Republic (CAR), Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),  Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.

As of October 22, 2008, the Department of State stopped accepting Affidavits of Relationship (AORs) for all nationalities. Although in some location where there was no evidence of fraud (Bangkok, Cairo, Havana, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, Kathmandu, Moscow, and Vienna) there are a small number of AORs that were submitted and cleared prior to March 2008 are being processed. No new applications will be accepted for any nationality at this time.

This does not mean that the State Department has not been working to assist the refugee populations seeking admittance to the U.S.  According to the State Department:

We continue to work closely with UNHCR to determine which African refugee populations are appropriate candidates for group and individual referrals. For example, we recently authorized the processing of several thousand Eritrean refugees in a camp in Ethiopia and continue to receive P-1 (individual) referrals of Congolese, Burundians, Somalis, and other African nationalities.

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Genetic Passports… A Thing Of The Past?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:20 PM
Thursday, December 2, 2010

In 2006 and 2007 there was a big push to create genetic passports for, plants, animals, microorganisms and even people this now seems to be a dream of the past.  What happened to genetic passports?  Why was there so much interest in them?  How were they going to be used?

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Plan Your Immigration At Every Stage

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:43 PM
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

By Arif Hussain

According to the U.N. Population Division, there are now almost 200 million international migrants  and about 50% of these existing immigrants are illegal OR undocumented. The worldwide immigration trend is increasing day by day.

The people intending immigrate also do not have good immigration plans to retain their legal status for a longer duration once they are in a country. They normally overstay their Visa period due to many reasons beyond their control. Then these overstayed / illegal immigrants are forced to live under inhumane circumstances for next many years of their life in many instances.

Immigration Laws and society at large do not help illegal immigrants.

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Have A Simple Immigration Aim

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:30 PM
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

by Arif Hussain

If you are serious to try your luck with immigration to USA, UK OR any other 1st world countries, spend some time to develop your workable immigration plan. Your time spent on research will not go waste. You must exactly know what to do and How to do it.

Your first step is to define your Immigration Aim clearly.

How to define your immigration aim is the core point on which your complete immigration plan will be evolving. Let us take few examples of Immigration Aims.

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Different Methods Of Paternity Testing

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:14 PM
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

By Groshan Fabiola

Paternity testing is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are beginning to realize the many answers that paternity tests can provide and the emotional and financial heartache that they can save a person. Paternity tests can determine up to 99% accuracy whether or not an individual is the father of a child. This can be very helpful in child custody cases when a man is claiming that he is or is not the biological father of a child. Depending on the results of the paternity test, the courts can then either force the man to pay child support payments or they can make it possible for a person to discontinue, or not begin to, pay child support payments. There are a few different methods that can be used to determine paternity and these different tests can be done either postnatal, which is after a baby is born, or prenatal, which is before the child is born.

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Immigration DNA Testing Gets Positive Results

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:51 PM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

While there are numerous kinds of DNA testing that are available through web sites, there are some that have less of the public’s attention than others. While everyone seems most familiar with the standbys like paternity testing, there are other variations like Immigration DNA testing that serve a great purpose in reuniting families that have been separated when family members immigrate to new countries.

First Things First

First of all, there are several things that you’ll need to know about the process of DNA testing in general if you want to have a rounded view of what this science that has spawned the likes of paternity testing and even Infidelity DNA Testing is all about.

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Immigration Plan Of A Poor Student

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 10:10 AM
Friday, December 11, 2009

By Arif Hussain

International Students Planning their immigration to study in USA, UK and other 1st world countries have to meet certain academic and financial criteria. Apart from being eligible to get admission in certain educational program on the basis of their qualification, grade and merits, an international student must display their financial strength to pay their tuition and living expenses for at least first one year of their study program.

Many eligible and desirous students are unable to demonstrate their financial support to pay to the College / University approximately US$3600.00 which is normally the cost of tuition for their first semester. They do not have good Bank statements and there is no immediate relative to provide them affidavit of financial support. Hence their immigration desire on student Visa remains a dream.

I will narrate an immigration plan of a poor student from Egypt who I met in Los Angeles, California, USA in January 2005.

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Copy of INS Memorandum on DNA Testing to Establish Family Relationships

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:33 PM
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

July 14, 2000

U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20536

HQADN 70/11

MEMORANDUM FOR:

ALL REGIONAL DIRECTORS,
ALL DISTRICT DIRECTORS (INCLUDING FOREIGN),
ALL OFFICERS IN CHARGE (INCLUDING FOREIGN),
ALL SERVICE CENTER DIRECTORS,
FLETC,
ARTE A

FROM:

Michael D. Cronin
Acting Executive Associate Commissioner
Office of Programs

SUBJECT:    Guidance on Parentage Testing for Family-Based Immigrant Visa Petitions

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) field offices on parentage testing to establish a claimed relationship for benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Such testing may be appropriate to establish a parental relationship in support of a petition for a child, son, or daughter (Form I-130). The procedures discussed in this memorandum may also apply to establishing the biological parent of a foreign-born adopted child to support an orphan petition (Form I-600) or to establishing a parental relationship for citizenship cases (Form N-600). In addition, these procedures may be used to establish a parental relationship for refugee and asylum relative petitions (Form I-730). This memorandum has the concurrence of the Office of Policy and Planning and the Office of the General Counsel.
Authority to Require Parentage Testing

A petitioner must establish eligibility for a requested immigration benefit. An application or petition must be filed with any initial evidence required by regulation or by the form instructions. Any evidence submitted is considered part of the relating petition or application and may establish eligibility. 8 CFR 103.2(b)(1).

In the case of a petition for a child, son, or daughter, the petitioner must provide evidence of the claimed relationship. 8 CFR 204.2(d)(2). The initial evidence for a child, son, or daughter includes a birth certificate. When a birth certificate is unavailable, the petitioner must demonstrate that it is not available and submit secondary evidence, such as a baptismal certificate, or church or school records. If the petitioner demonstrates that both initial and secondary evidence is unavailable, two or more affidavits may be substituted. However, the unavailability of a birth certificate creates a presumption of ineligibility for the benefit, and any alternative evidence submitted must be evaluated for its authenticity and credibility. 8 CFR 103.2(b)(2)(i) and 204.2(d)(2)(v).

A director may also require that Blood Group Antigen or Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) blood parentage testing be conducted on the child, son, or daughter and putative mother and father to establish eligibility for a benefit. 8 CFR 204.2(d)(2)(vi). Statistical analysis of these tests provides a likelihood of parentage. These test results will often establish or disprove the claimed parental relationship. Since blood parentage testing can be a valuable tool to verify a relationship, it may generally be required when initial and secondary forms of evidence have proven insufficient to prove a claimed relationship. As a result of technological advances, field offices should be aware that Blood Group Antigen and HLA tests are no longer widely available for testing by laboratories, and are not considered to be as reliable as DNA tests.

Although a director may require blood parentage testing, he or she has no statutory or regulatory authority to require DNA testing. However, when initial and secondary forms of evidence have proven inconclusive and blood parentage testing does not clearly establish the claimed parental relationship, field offices may have no alternative to suggesting DNA testing as a means of establishing the relationship. The petitioner has the burden of proof when the evidence submitted has not satisfied his evidentiary threshold and the INS would otherwise deny the petition without more conclusive evidence such as that which DNA testing could provide. In such cases, field offices should inform the petitioner that: 1) DNA testing is absolutely voluntary; 2) the costs of DNA testing and related expenses (such as doctor’s fees and the cost of transmitting testing materials and blood samples) must be borne exclusively by the petitioner; and 3) submitting to DNA testing is in no way a guarantee of the approval of the petition.

Field offices should keep in mind that no parentage testing, including DNA testing, is 100 percent conclusive. Therefore, due to the expense, complexity and logistical problems and sensitivity inherent in parentage testing, offices should be extremely cautious when requiring blood testing or suggesting DNA testing as a means of establishing a claimed parental relationship.

While blood testing is not and should not be a routine part of the adjudications process, it can be an extremely valuable tool in cases when it otherwise would be impossible to verify a relationship. Parentage blood tests involve laboratory procedures performed on blood samples or other genetic material obtained from the child and putative parent or parents. The statistical analysis of the blood test provides a likelihood of parentage if the putative parent is not excluded. The likelihood of parentage is greater with increased information. Increasing the number of genetic testing systems tested provides stronger results, while the absence of information diminishes the strength of results. Officers should be aware that parentage testing is an extremely fact-driven procedure. A laboratory may more accurately determine what tests to run based on specific facts. A more accurate answer will be provided by the laboratory if the Officer provides the laboratory with suspicions of fraud or other pertinent facts.
Minimum Standards

Parties tested: The most accurate results are received when the alleged mother, father and child available for testing. However, testing of only the mother and child or father and child are also acceptable.

Statistical probability: All tests must produce a 99.5% statistical probability for the conclusion of results to establish parentage. Laboratories can continue with a battery of tests until a 99.5% conclusion of parentage is established. After testing the samples from all parties, laboratories will produce a conclusion of parentage which will inform field offices which tests were administered and the conclusion for the results they obtained.

Preferred test: The preferred test is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test drawn with a buccal swab or a PCR test based on a blood sample.

Please see below for a more detailed explanation of the parentage testing process and procedures.
Blood Testing

Blood consists of red and white blood cells, platelets and liquid plasma. Each component of the blood contains several antigens or “markers.” The blood group antigens are structures on the surface of the blood cells that help to distinguish individuals within a population. The antigens, inherited from the parents, are controlled by genes on a pair of chromosomes. Each parent contributes one of each chromosome pair carrying the genes that determine the detectable properties of an offspring’s blood. The presence of a specific antigen indicates a particular genetic composition or marker. Conclusions in parentage blood testing are based upon the principle that the child inherits genetic markers in his or her blood from each of his or her biological parents.

Conventional Blood Tests

There are four basic tests used in conventional blood testing: 1) basic red cell antigens (ABO, MN, CcDEe); 2) extended red cell antigens; 3) white cell antigens (HLA); 4) and red cell enzymes and serum proteins. The laboratory begins by conducting the first test. If parentage cannot be ruled out based on the results of the first test, the laboratory will conduct the second test. The process continues until either the putative parent can be entirely excluded or a good statistical probability is established that the relationship is bona fide.

DNA Testing

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) parentage testing provides an alternative to more conventional parentage blood testing methods. DNA testing can be especially useful in countries with limited medical and transportation facilities because, unlike HLA testing, it does not require the use of live human blood cells, which must be tested within just a few days, and are sometimes difficult to obtain. DNA parentage testing can often provide conclusive results even when not all parties are available for testing.

Officers should be aware that parentage testing technology changes rapidly. Whereas HLA blood testing was widely used until 1994, it is now rarely used. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) tests which have been widely used since 1994 are now being phased out by laboratories in the U.S. The DNA test which is most recommended for use in parentage testing is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. Although DNA testing has traditionally been accomplished through blood testing, buccal (mouth or cheek cavity) swabs are an alternative to drawing blood for testing. Cells are drawn from the inside cheek using a long cotton swab. As opposed to blood testing, buccal swab testing does not require the assistance of a physician, and is non-invasive. Nevertheless, it is recommended that only a person specially trained to collect a tissue sampling perform the procedure in order to ensure the quantity is sufficient for testing.

Parentage Testing Procedures

The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredits parentage-testing laboratories for a 2-year period.[1][1]   The current list of AABB accredited parentage testing laboratories is attached to this memorandum. Offices may accept parentage-testing results only from laboratories on this list. The current AABB list does not include any laboratories located overseas, however, the AABB does expect to begin accreditation of laboratories located overseas soon. Therefore, foreign offices should not accept test results from local parentage testing laboratories until the local laboratory has received accreditation from the AABB. The burden of proof is on the petitioner to show that the laboratory chosen is accredited by the AABB.

When a field office requires blood testing or suggests DNA testing, it should provide the petitioner with the list of AABB accredited laboratories. Field offices should be aware that the state designations on the list are for laboratory headquarters. Many laboratories have collection sites in many different states and locations. The petitioner must select a laboratory, contact the laboratory directly, and make the necessary arrangements for conducting the tests. To assure the integrity of the test results, all stages of parentage testing must be conducted under appropriate safeguards. These safeguards must include strict controls concerning: 1) protection of the chain of custody of blood or tissue samples; 2) identification of the parties to be tested, generally by photographing individuals being tested; and 3) correct presentation of test results.

Communication should be directly between the laboratory and the civil surgeon or panel physician or the field office. Under no circumstances should a third party, including the individuals being tested, be permitted to carry or transport blood or tissue samples or test results. Since the applicant bears full financial responsibility for testing, the Service has no objection to that person receiving a copy of the test results from the laboratory or panel physician. It is imperative that the same facility test both the alleged child and the alleged parent(s). Where the petitioner is physically present in the U.S., a U.S.-based lab must conduct the tests and relay the results. Instructions usually require the participation of a witness, identification taken from all (adult) parties involved, and photographs taken of all parties.

Analysis of Test Results

In all cases of parentage testing, laboratories should provide the statistical probability for the conclusion for the results they obtain. Offices should use the following interpretations of the plausibility of parentage to analyze test results. In general, AABB standards mandate 99 percent to be the minimum requirement for the proof of parentage. However, this statement does not mean that all test results 99 percent and higher should be accepted as conclusive proof of parentage, or that all test results below 99 percent exclude parentage. The type of parentage test performed, the genetic profile of the local population, and facts specific to the case will all affect the percentage that an office should require to establish a parental relationship. Field offices should provide laboratories with non-genetic evidence which may affect the lab’s assumptions in performing the testing, analysis of the results or the number of genetic markers tested.


Plausibility of Parentage (Percent)
and  Interpretation

99.80% – 99.90%:  Practically Proved

99.1% – 99.80%:  Extremely Likely

95% – 99%:  Very Likely

90% – 95%:  Likely

80% – 90%:  Undecided

Less than 80%: Not Useful

Please note that in societies where interfamily marriage is common, close relatives will share many genetic markers and the test results of an aunt, uncle, or grandparent of a beneficiary may appear to establish the claimed parental relationship. The statistics used in paternity testing are designed for evaluating an alleged father as compared to unrelated men. Unlike the random population where persons may share genetic markers by chance, related men will share genetic markers by descent. First degree relatives, such as father, brother or son, will share 50% of their genetic material on average. Therefore, directors should consult with local physicians and parentage testing laboratories, and consider local fraud patterns, to determine the appropriate tests and particular test results to reliably establish the parental relationship in questionable cases. Officers should ask labs to calculate both a father-child and uncle-child or sibling relationship in these cases and should examine reports provided by the laboratory to ensure that sufficient testing was done to distinguish between family members. Officers should feel free to contact the laboratory for clarification if the lab’s findings are inconclusive. Labs are able to conduct tests on additional genetic markers if necessary to resolve inconclusive cases.

[1][1] The accreditation standards were developed by the committee on parentage testing of the AABB under a grant from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Department of Health and Human Services and with the assistance of special consultants and representatives from the American Bar Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics and the College of American Pathologists.

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