DNA, Illegal Immigration and Violence against Women
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An act of Congress is going to make DNA sampling as common as fingerprinting for anybody arrested by federal agents. Illegal immigrants were the original targets, but even US citizens not charged with crimes might have to give up their genetic codes. We hear about an almost unnoticed amendment to the Violence against Women Act. Also, a new security operation begins in Baghdad, and on Reporter's Notebook, there's new momentum on healthcare reform.
Security Crackdown Underway in Baghdad ()
Another US helicopter crashed today in Iraq, killing all seven aboard. It's the fifth such crash in the past two weeks. Meantime, the new security operation in Baghdad officially began. Hedging his bets, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress that he was also looking at other contingencies and alternatives. Leila Fadel reports from Baghdad for the McClatchy Newspapers.
Measures to Protect Women Could Expand FBI's DNA Database ()
Most states collect DNA samples only from people convicted of crimes, and that's been true of the federal government as well. While the original targets were undocumented workers suspected of crimes, a year ago President Bush signed an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act that would vastly increase federal power. The Justice Department will soon issue rules for collecting DNA from "any person arrested under federal authority and from any non-US person who is detained." Civil-liberties watchdogs claim that the broad language could result in hikers stopped by park rangers or airline passengers subjected to screening to surrender their genetic codes. Why is the new law part of VAWA? How did it pass without debate, by voice vote, virtually unnoticed? Is it a good move for law enforcement or an overextension of federal powers?
- Julia Preston: immigration Reporter for the New York Times, @JuliaPrestonNYT
- Evelyn Fortier: spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
- Caroline Fredrickson: director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office
- Paul Ferrara: former director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science
- Carlina Tapia-Ruano: president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
Momentum Builds for Improved Healthcare Access ()
In Washington, Wal-Mart, the Service Employees International and the Communications Workers said they'll team up on a national "campaign" for healthcare reform. They won't provide details until later today. But they aren't the only example of strange bedfellows. More and more states are frustrated with a lack of progress in Washington, and they're producing plans of their own. Sixteen major players have already produced a specific plan. Ron Pollack, who helped draft the Patients bill of Rights for the Clinton Administration, is now Executive Director of Families USA.
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