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DHS Drops Proposal to Expand Immigration-Related Biometrics Collection

The Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn a proposal that was introduced within the last few months of the Trump administration that would have expanded the collection to biometric data relating to immigration. The rule was first published in the Federal Register on September 11, and would have removed age restrictions and required the submission of biometrics from anyone, including US citizens, associated with any immigration benefit or request. The proposal received extensive backlash, with many people calling it a privacy rights violation, invasive, and unjustified.

As of May 10, the rule is officially withdrawn. A spokesperson for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services released a statement calling the proposal’s dismissal consistent with administration priorities to store faith in the legal immigration system and reduce barriers to intending immigrants. The DHS, however, still wants a rule that will allow for more flexibility in the practice of biometric data collection. It plans to find a way to create flexibility without violating a February 2 executive order that aims to restore faith in the US immigration system. The withdrawal did not state that the proposed rule conflicted with the executive order, however, it was mentioned in the announcement.

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