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Iowa Senator sends letter to CBP & DHS demanding answers on ‘alarmingly low’ DNA testing for illegal immigrants

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Border Patrol

In a letter to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) acting Commissioner Troy Miller and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is calling for answers regarding new data he says shows an “alarmingly low” percentage of DNA samples of illegal immigrants being received by the FBI.

The Republican’s letter cites whistleblower data his office has received related to DNA collection practices of immigrants arriving at the northern and southern border conducted by the CBP.

“Those disclosures show that in the first three quarters of FY23, FBI received an alarmingly low percentage of DNA samples,” Grassley wrote.

“Given the record number of illegal crossings, CBP encounters, and ICE detainees with prior criminal records, CBP and DHS’s continued failure to collect DNA on illegal immigrants is deeply concerning,” he said. “This failure weakens our justice system and empowers criminals to illegally cross our border, jeopardizing American lives.”

Fox News reports on the statistics which Grassley cites: “in Q1 of FY23, there were 865,333 migrant encounters, and 347,231 DNA samples were received by the FBI — about 40%… In Q2, just 31.21% were received by the FBI and in Q3 that number was 37%.”

Grassley cites a number of reports that show examples of crimes illegal immigrants have been connected to via DNA matches, including unsolved cases, even with what he called “insufficient” DNA efforts by federal authorities.

CBP sources told Fox News on Monday that there have been more than 21,000 migrant encounters in the past 72 hours, with Tucson Sector being the busiest with more than 5,400. It’s in line with traditional surges as numbers increase as the Spring arrives, but the numbers suggest it is going to be a significant surge.

In his letter, Grassley also requests data for Q4 and for FY 24 so far, as well as additional plans to implement the DNA Fingerprint Act.

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education

Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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