US gathers biometric data on migrants in Mexican jails
09 April 2018 20:31 GMT

The US is quietly conducting a programme to capture the biometric data of tens of thousands of Central Americans and other migrants arrested in Mexico.

Department of Homeland Security officials have installed scores of screening terminals to collect migrants’ fingerprints, ocular scans and other identifying features, including tattoos and scars, reported the Washington Post.

According to the report, the information gathered is immediately forwarded to DHS and other US law enforcement and intelligence databases, alerting American officials if an individual in Mexican custody is a convicted criminal or in a category known as “Special Interest Aliens,” which includes potential extremists, according to current and former U.S. officials who described the program on the condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for Mexico’s Interior Ministry said he had no information about the program. Spokesmen for the National Institute of Migration and the Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Gustavo Mohar, a former top Mexican intelligence and immigration official, described the biometric program as “part of the bilateral package and the immigration policy of Mexico to prevent criminals or bad people from passing through Mexico and going to the United States.”

“This biometric interchange is a preventative measure to identify people of risk; it’s not that we’re letting pass gang members, rapists, everything that man said,” Mohar added, referring to Donald Trump.