Canada Border Security now using DNA to find home countries for immigrants

+7 votes
Just found this article mentioned today - where the Canada Border Security are now checking DNA for all immigrants to confirm their home counrties and possibly their families and family connections (Relatives) back home.

When I was applying to immigrate to canada, I had to list all my closest relatives, their ages, addresses, occupations and how likely they might  want to also move to Canada.

I listed my parents, my sisters, my nephews and neices and then my aunts and uncles. The only person who MIGHT have wanted to move to Canada was my younger sister,  who at that time had not yet remarried,. She is now remarried and settled down in NZ just fine.
in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

3 Answers

+10 votes
Best answer

The article does not say, as Robynne Lozier summarizes here, that,

Canada Border Security are now checking DNA for all immigrants to confirm their home counrties and possibly their families and family connections (Relatives) back home.

Rather, the Yahoo article says, in its 2nd paragraph says,

CBSA spokesman Jayden Robertson said the agency uses DNA testing to determine identity of "longer-term detainees" when other techniques have been exhausted.

Simply put, regular immigrants are not termed "detainees".

A major component of this problem is that, as per the original VICE News article which this story cites, is that certain countries will disclaim their own citizens and their proper documentation, alleging that it is a forgery, even if it is not:

[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.

Hence it becomes impossible to "send them home". 

This is not the only problem, of course, as some individuals do attempt to travel or migrate with forged papers and false identities. But the other component of the issue, foreign officials lying, is also requires consideration. 

Another issue here that is not made clear is what kind of "consent" was obtained:

CBSA's Robertson said the agency obtains consent from clients before submitting their information to DNA websites. Robertson said it was impossible to say how many cases were being investigated using DNA and DNA websites.

 Was it under duress? Was it made clear that one could freely decline to participate? Were the agency's suspicions made clear? Were the specific uses, by both the testing company and the agency, communicated fully in advance?

Additionally there is an issue about representation: Are the CBSA agents representing themselves to be the Subject of the DNA test when communicating to his (or her) genetic relatives? Are they masquerading as the test subject or are they providing clear and unambiguous statement of their identity and purpose when communicating with these DNA cousins?

There are numerous considerations here. It's important for the public - including genealogists - to be informed in order to be able to make choices, both political and personal. There needs to be discussion around this within the genealogy community as well because these are our tools and platforms at stake. There are many who, provided truly informed consent when participating in genetic tests, would refused when explained the full list of applications and how it has the potential to impact their privacy in previously unforeseen ways. 

I know that migrants, both legal and illegal, are a contentious issue in many communities at present: Many would wish to shut down the debate simply because of that topic: The post that I shared here on the VICE News article 2 days ago tripled my received-downvote count, I suspect because of the contentiousness around migration issues. But don't loose sight of how this issue crosses several spheres in its influence. Remember that it impacts both the lives of real human beings (often born in far worse circumstances than us) as well as the genealogy communities that we continue to benefit from and through which we (especially as WikiTreers) seek to bless others.

by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (141k points)
selected by Jo-Anne Zeron-Benes
+11 votes
Not sure how I feel about this.  Gives me the creeps as a Canadian. And I am a molecular biologist. I feel like there are some ethical questions that need to be posed
by Kyla H G2G6 Mach 5 (57.1k points)
Creepy is right, but then they should guard their borders and know who is immigrating to their country.
+8 votes
The article doesn't say ALL immigrants, just those where other methods have failed and some problem has shown up. The USA pretty much does the same thing.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
Thanks for the clarification, Doug. And sorry for the confusion.

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