"Canada is using ancestry DNA websites to help it deport people"

+6 votes

An investigative story from VICE News in Canada, "Canada is using ancestry DNA websites to help it deport people":


Essentially, there is a man being held in legal limbo, having committed crimes in Canada yet not being a citizen. They tried to deport him to his alleged home country, Liberia, however that country (for whatever reason) alleged that it was not his home country.

Now the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a suspicion that he may not be from Liberia, but rather Nigeria - this rests on some shaky pieces of evidence. So they are trying to prove his origin using various DNA testing and matching databases that genealogists use: Family Tree DNA is certainly being used, some of the others (e.g. Ancestry DNA, MyHeritage DNA, 23andMe, Living DNA, GEDmatch) are also likely being used.

These law enforcement agents are communicating with various cousin matches to try to prove his identity:

CBSA revealed during Godwin’s detention review hearing that they had interviewed two people — a second through a fourth cousin of his in the UK and a third through a fifth cousin, whose location was unknown, both of whom were of Nigerian descent.

It is unclear whether the law enforcement agents are masquerading as the individual or if they are being open about their identities and aims.

in The Tree House by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
Disturbing. Somebody has always got to get their fingers in another’s pie.
Dude lied about where he came from ? Duh ! Probably eats better in a Canadian jail than he did in Nigeria, you think ? Canada, no death penalty. If he committed crimes in Nigeria, he loses his head.

Didn't the US do this a few years ago to prove an antique German immigrant was a Nazi concentration camp commandant ? Tested a supposed great nephew from family still in Germany and got a match ?

You appear to have failed to read the article before commenting, Eddie. Liberia is a country known for falsely disclaiming its citizens:

[The] story of being denied entry at the border isn’t unique for Liberian nationals. Emails obtained through access to information reveal immigration officials repeatedly mention how difficult it is to deport someone to Liberia and the lack of cooperation from Liberian officials even when deportees have documents that have been issued by the Liberian government. Emails reference officials in Monrovia “bouncing back our cases for no apparent reason,” and Canadian officials often being told that the identity of the person they’re sending or the documentation is fraudulent. In one email, a CBSA officer says he was told by a UN police officer that because there was an election coming up, Liberian officials were reluctant to let people in because they didn’t want deportees to change the outcome of the election.

Canadian officials cannot be certain that whether he lied about his citizenship or if Liberian officials are lying. 

JN Murphy,

Thank you for this article, it raises many privacy concerns we all should be aware of, as well as possible human rights violations that should concern all of us.
JN Murphy,

Eddie's basic point is valid. The guy's been in maximum security for over 10 years. You can't tell me that if he WANTED his citizenship to be established, that he couldn't give the Canadians more to go on then some DNA test would tell them. If he's wanted in either country, a Canadian prison would be heaven, compared to what's waiting for him.

Notice how the author doesn't give any compelling information about his citizenship. Nothing about where he was born, who his family is - zip. But they're only too happy to bad-mouth the authorities deporting him for his having abused the privilege of them letting him stay there . If he ISN'T a criminal over there, figuring this out would only HELP free him from jail!
Dew Winegarner-

There were no human rights violations spoken of, and this is just another example of stirring up paranoia about DNA testing, of the kind that can only make what we do here more difficult - for no good reason. The people who submitted their data did so with the intention of helping to establish blood relations with others, and that's exactly what it was used for. If the convicted criminal isn't a big fat liar (and it sounds like he is) then getting at the truth would only help free him from jail and get him home.

In fact, the entire thesis is completely ridiculous - that people should be aware that when they do a DNA test they could be helping to deport somebody. First of all, these are exceptional cases, but when they do them they're perfectly justified. Secondly, these people and their relatives tend to be in a demographic that barely tests at all. Third, the people who test don't even have to talk to the authorities if they don't want to, and probably aren't much use if they don't..

This is just another attack on DNA testing - for no good reason (quite the opposite, in fact) - and therefore an indirect attack on the research efforts of a great many WikiTreers.
And how reliable is Vice.com? It sounds like another National Inquirer to me.
Actually it is very reliable, fact based, unlike National Enquirer and Fox News
George Churchill -

Why ask? We at WikiTree pride ourselves on collecting and evaluating sources, do we not?

This one is especially EASY to evaluate. Start of with the title itself, where it says "people" are being deported. As it turns out, in reading the article it becomes clear that ones being deported are more precisely described as "convicted criminals" and "foreign nationals". It turns out that your cousin's 12-year-old native Canadian child is NOT in their crosshairs, although they're trying to make it sound like everybody is at risk. They get rather hilarious regarding this point near the conclusion, where they warn the general public that their DNA might be used to do this, even though practically nobody reading it would be even remotely related to anybody effected by it.

It even avoids making the "convicted criminal" status of the individual obvious by saying he "...was charged two years later with importing and conspiring to import heroin and sentenced to seven years in jail. ..." Now, unless Canada is a LOT different than I think it is, they don't just sentence people to 7 years for simply being charged. I'm going to go ahead and assume there was a conviction inbetween that was magically left out.

So this person who is treated so sympathetically in the article is a "convicted heroin smuggler" too - not simply "people". We hear all kinds of obviously-biased alarmism from this guy's LAWYER, but not so much from the officials looking to deport him (who aren't allowed to talk about the specifics of cases). It's casually mentioned that he committed various other crimes, too, since they tried to deport him, almost making it sound like these crimes were CAUSED by the deportation attempt, or like this is a reasonable way to pass the time.

Then there's the fact, as I pointed out elsewhere, that they don't say ANYTHING about this guy's family, who probably know full well what country he's a citizen of. They don't even say where he was born - not only not the town, but not even the country. The story of what country he is a citizen of, and how that came to be is COMPLETELY ABSENT. So this career criminal is simply being believed, without any real questions.

Of course, there's the way that trying to ascertain the true citizenship of a foreign nation is treated like it's some sort of human rights violation - not exactly "fact-based" journalism.

"National Enquirer"? Not really the same thing - they push questionable gossip and conspiracy theories, while this is alarmist political propaganda - although those two are often one and the same these days! The line between major "news" sources and tabloids is pretty blurry right now, at least in the US. So I guess it's debatable, but your instincts are right on target - it's extremely biased and pushing conspiracy theories against DNA testing.

You're literally being called upon to raise your fist in righteous outrage at the idea that your DNA might be used to help identify the true citizenship of your heroin-smuggling career criminal second cousin from Botswana, and that he thereby might be sent back to his own country. This is not a parody, and the fact that it's completely insane, on many levels, is completely beyond them.

Anyway, you'd don't have to take anybody else's word for whether it's "reliable" - you just have to do a little critical thinking as you read it, and it should be self-evident.
My point exactly
Except that Fox and National Enquirer air and print actual fake and sensationalist news

Point is that Vice is not at all like National Enquirer.

FYI news reporting is filtered via the mindset, beliefs, opinions of the writers and editor. So the article wasn't fake, just written by a person whose opinions and beliefs affect the words that he or she chooses.

Actually we readers do the same thing. And some readers betray their innermost bigotry by their choices.
Heres a tip,if your already commiting a crime by being in a country illegally, dont commit more!
It is almost impossible to live in a society without breaking some law, and getting stopped by police.  Traffic stops for instance.

2 Answers

+4 votes
Well, that's a misleading title.

Sounds like they are aware that this person is not a Canadian citizen, and they are using these resources to figure out WHERE to deport him to, and if they figure it out, the actual deporting will undoubtedly use big burly guys and maybe an aircraft, not census records.

I'm surprised you don't run into this all the time. Maybe it'd be simpler if they just put him in solitary until he gives them enough info until he owns up to his legal citizenship. Refugee loopholes are an open invitation to all kinds of fraud and abuse of the system.
by Frank Stanley G2G6 Mach 7 (78.2k points)
Put him in solitary? You are a real civil libertarian and defender of constitutional rights aren't you? Are you an ICE agent per chance?
Not a citizen , zero constitutional rights. Try comming legally.

You don't have to be a citizen to have constitutional rights. You demonstrate ignorance and bigory, I expect to be downrated and flagged for calling you out for what you are. 

By the way, those poor folk being jailed, harassed at the US Mexican border are refugees, not immigrants illegally entering the US. In fact they actually tried to enter the US at the border, legally, asking refugee status, which our laws protect, but not them, because there is racist faction that needs to be catered to.

What is happening to them by ICE, and the Administration is in fact illegal, against the law.


Immigration restrictionists sometimes claim that noncitizens have no rights under the Constitution, and that the US government is therefore free to deal with them in whatever way it wants. At least as a general rule, this claim is simply false.

Noncitizens undeniably have a wide range of rights under the Constitution. Indeed, within the borders of the United States, they have most of the same rights as citizens do, and longstanding Supreme Court precedent bans most state laws discriminating against noncitizens. There is little if any serious controversy among experts over this matter.

Thought this was about Canada? But your wrong. Of course they have basic human rights. &some protections, but not rights like a citizen has. There is no, eight to come here. Or, right to assylum. We have found a majority of these children are either alone or not with their real parents. So do you support turning children over to child traffickers then?
Well read the article educate yourself. It clearly says that they have some rights, perhaps not all, but they do have the right to a fair trial, to habeas corpus.

And the right to seek asylum as refugees, and refugees they are from oppression and government, or government sanctioned violence.

And we are obligated by international law, which our government has signed onto, to give refugees seeking asylum a fair hearing, which they are not getting.

And all you are doing is spouting right wing, Fox, Rush and Alex Jones inspired talking points.

I suspected that genealogy was rife with right wing zealtots and now they are coming out of the shadows, emboldened by the bigotry of their Fuhrer.
Wow.speaking of bigotry. Your the one being called out. Just another typical ill-informed, open borders, left wing loon. Spouting nonsense & trying to bully anyone that dissagrees with them.
Typical fascist tactics. Projection. Whose the bully here. The jackbooted fascist that would kick minorities and refugees or those that see humanity in them.
That's enough of the personal attacks, everyone.  Thanks.

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