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DA proposes DNA testing for new citizens
SAN BERNARDINO • San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos wrote a letter to congressional leaders, urging legislators to require DNA testing for immigrants seeking citizenship.
The District Attorney's office released the letter to the media on Wednesday, suggesting DNA testing should be part of any immigration reform considered by Congress.
“Immigration reform’s time has come,” Ramos wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “We have the technology and protocols to keep known criminals from becoming U.S. citizens.”
Under Ramos’ plan, immigration officials would collect DNA samples from citizenship applicants and run them through the DNA database. The database created by federal, state and local crime laboratories includes more than 10 million offender profiles, according to the letter.
There are two purposes to his proposal: To prevent granting citizenship to immigrants with criminal history and to prove to the public that most immigrants are not criminals, Ramos said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“I was frustrated with the whole immigration reform,” Ramos said. “We’ve got to make sure that these people haven’t committed a crime.”
He said the issue is personal for him because he’s a second generation Hispanic who grew up in California. Ramos said many people have a misconception that immigrants are gang members and criminals.
“I don’t believe that,” Ramos said. “I believe that the majority of the people came here to support their families and have a better life like anybody would. I kind of want to help those people in this country. These people are law-abiding, just working hard for the family.”
“I want to prove ... that the majority of the people are here for the right reason,” he said. “You take a DNA test and it shows the world that you’re working here and not committing a crime.” Ramos said the collected DNA samples would be used only for matching purposes.
Tomoya Shimura may be reached at (760) 955-5368 or TShimura@VVDailyPress.com. Follow Tomoya on Facebook at facebook.com/ShimuraTomoya.
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