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US Government Detects Immigration Fraud with DNA Testing


Governments have long used medical tests on immigrants to screen out potentially unwanted applicants. Now the US government, in a pilot program, has used DNA tests on immigrants to make sure they are telling the truth.

The pilot program centered on immigrant applicants from East Africa, where a humanitarian program was in place to reunite African refugees with relatives in the United States. To be eligible for the program, the refugee needed to have an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent or sibling) already living in the US.

However, DNA testing from the pilot program revealed that 80% of the applicants lied about having family in the United States in order to gain entry into the United States. The widespread evidence of fraud prompted the US State Department to suspend the entire humanitarian program for all applicants, even those that had passed the DNA test. As the Wall Street Journal noted, this has raised questions about the use of DNA testing as an immigration tool.

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