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DHS Calls Off Proposed Rule to Expand Biometrics Collection


DHS Calls Off Proposed Rule to Expand Biometrics Collection

The Department of Homeland Security has scrapped a proposed rule that would have expanded the ability of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to collect biometric data. The biometrics rule was officially withdrawn as of May 10, according to a Federal Register notice. 

During its public comment period, the rule was criticized for being invasive, unnecessary and unjustified.

Proposed changes to the DHS’s biometrics collection program included requiring biometrics from anyone seeking immigration or naturalization requests regardless of age, Nextgov reported Monday

The DHS also proposed expanding biometrics collection practices to include collections of palm prints and photographs for facial recognition, as well as voice prints and iris images for DNA tests.

A USCIS spokesperson told Nextgov that the biometrics rule was withdrawn in alignment with the administration’s goal of restoring faith in the legal immigration system and reducing barriers and undue burdens to intending immigrants. 

Moving forward, the spokesperson said the DHS aims to conduct a thorough review of the withdrawn rule’s proposed regulatory amendments with the administration’s priorities in mind to determine whether future biometric rulemaking is necessary without imposing undue burdens or violating privacy and civil liberties.

A similar rule meant for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection also received criticism during its comment period. The proposed CBP rule was aimed at advancing the legal framework for DHS to begin a comprehensive biometric entry-exit system.

Despite calls for the rule to be withdrawn, the DHS has yet to officially call off the proposal. A CBP spokesperson said the agency is still in the process of reviewing the comments.

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Category: Federal Civilian