If you should browse the website, which belongs to the people behind currenttv (American cable channel founded by Al Gore), you’ll find a growing amount of content from yours truely. And as I posted a link to an article about the new French requirement that immigrants who wish their family members to join them in France must take a DNA test to prove they are really family, I received some interesting comments, and I say that not because several people agreed with me.

In discussing this topic on that website and amongst friends here in Amsterdam, one common concern that people bring up to defend the policy sounds something like this: “Using DNA will ensure that immigrants aren’t lying about who is family.”

I realize many people agree with this, on the surface it is a simple request, that people not lie. But when I hear this comment, my mind travels to the past.. to who I am and how I got to be where I am.. or better yet.. how I got to be at all. Or beyond me, what about all the people all over the world, who are the children of immigrants or the grandchildren of immigrants… what if they had had DNA testing?
The idea that people would not have been able to lie in any aspect of the immigration process would have basically changed the entire face of the western world, destination for many immigrants over the past 300 years. The midwest of the United States, with its huge Scandinavian population… imagine they had not been able to lie about who is who’s cousin or daughter.

I realize, there are immigration laws, there is a process, and it isn’t going away. I also realize that no matter the rules, if humans want to go somewhere, they will find a way, they will break or bend the rules, because it is a question of survival.

When it comes right down to it, history teaches us that there is a long and glorious tradition of lying for the sake of moving your family.. your hopes.. your dreams. It is a tradition that deserves our respect… it should be honored.. not disrespected with DNA tests that few migrants could ever afford anyway.

There are of course, numerous other criticisms of this policy that governments should take note of. But for right now, in this particular post, I just wanted to show my respect by defending the rights of immigrants.. of humans.. to not be DNA tested because they want to try and make a new life.. a better life.


  1. Tami
    October 25, 2007

    DNA testing in France… the eye scan and finger-printing of all non-US residents coming to the states even just for a vacation… it all just seems so evil. Maybe this is way overly idealistic, but to me it seems like – if you’re willing to lie about where your family is from just for the sake of being allowed to visit or live in that country – you most likely have a really good reason, and shouldn’t that count for something?

    I just wish there was a way for immigration laws and policies to exist without having to bring a DNA test or an eye scan into things. Once you’re in the computer system that way, it just seems like there’s no getting out – and one little mistake could cost someone their entire future.

    • bicyclemark
      October 27, 2007

      There absolutely is a way and that is to maintain a system that does not use DNA testing. They can have all the forms and rational forms of verification as they already have. There ARE creative solutions, but this DNA testing sounds like the opposite of anything creative and respectful.

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