Surge In Illegal Immigration Caused FBI DNA Testing Backlog

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a 15-month backlog on its process for testing illegal immigrants at the southern border, lacking the funds needed to sustain the program amid a surge in illegal immigration, according to an internal email chain by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses the tests from the FBI to test unlawful migrants 14 years of age or older. The bureau is responsible for analyzing and storing the tests for border authorities.

FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed worry about the agency’s capabilities to handle the “dramatic increase” in DNA samples, given the surge in illegal immigration in April 2023.

One CBP official revealed that the FBI does not have the funds required for its testing program and that the bureau has a 15-month backlog of DNA kits.

“They [FBI] don’t have enough money to run the program which is a statutory requirement. They are still delivering kits and used to turn them in around in 2 months, now they are looking at a 15 month backlog,” the CBP official said in the internal email chain.

Since President Joe Biden took office, the southern border has been in disarray, with millions of illegal immigrants pouring into the U.S., given the president’s lax border policies.

In 2022, federal data shows that over 2.2 million unlawful migrants were encountered at the southern border. More than 2 million have been apprehended in 2023.
The FBI’s testing program is called the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and is used by federal, state and local officials.

The internal email chain involved a Washington Post reporter who was planning a story on the FBI’s DNA testing.

Responding to a question from the reporter, FBI officials admitted that illegal immigrants who have a clean slate are released from the bureau’s custody before DNA testing is completed.

“Migrants remain in CBP custody for up to 72 hours. Since the FBI’s DNA analysis has always taken longer than three days, migrants have always been released from CBP custody prior to the FBI completing its DNA analysis. Migrants wanted for a crime are transferred to appropriate law enforcement agencies,” the email read.

“You may, however, wish to contact ICE to learn whether the current delay in FBI DNA analysis may have impacted ICE’s release of migrants as ICE holds migrants longer than CBP,” it added.