At least two genetic-testing companies have offered to help reunite immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the southern border as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration-enforcement policy.
MyHeritage has pledged to donate 5,000 free DNA-testing kits to illegal-immigrant children and parents who have lost track of each other, the company confirmed to National Review.
“In light of the humanitarian tragedy that has taken place, in which children have been separated from their parents, we have decided to rise to the challenge and take the lead in helping these families,” MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet said. “We hope to use the power of DNA testing yet again to do good, and to reunite parents and children who might otherwise never see one another again.”
The project is part of MyHeritage’s DNA Quest program, which helps reunite adoptees with their biological families. The company has reached out to government agencies and non-governmental organizations to help get the kits into the hands of immigrant-family members looking for their loved ones.
The CEO of 23andMe also expressed a desire to help after the company received exhortations from customers asking them to contribute.
“Connecting and uniting families is core to the mission of 23andMe,” Anne Wojcicki wrote Thursday on Twitter. “We would welcome any opportunity to help.”
We’ve heard from many of our customers that they would like to see 23andMe help reunite family members that were tragically separated from each other. Connecting and uniting families is core to the mission of 23andMe. We would welcome any opportunity to help.
— Anne Wojcicki (@annewoj23) June 21, 2018
23andMe is still in the “early stages” of planning the initiative, according to a company representative.
Since April, over 2,300 children have been separated from their parents or guardians as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally. In some cases, parents and children have lost track of each other, a problem a DNA test could help rectify.
Recent reports suggested Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be looking into using DNA kits to verify the relationships between immigrant children and their family members.