The online DNA service you use to find out your ancestry may soon help reunite immigrant families.
23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki has agreed to provide DNA kits to help reunite families separated at the US border, reported the San Jose, California-based Mercury News. The idea came to life after Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, approached the DNA-testing company on Thursday.
Under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on immigration, more than 2,000 children have been separated from their families after entering the US illegally. Following widespread outcry, Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that will allow families to be detained together, and he reportedly said Thursday authorities will be told to reunite previously separated families. Given that children and adults who cross the border together aren't always related, as the Los Angeles Times reported, 23andMe's DNA kits might help to reunite the children with their rightful parents.
On Thursday, Wojcicki tweeted that "connecting and uniting families is core to the mission of 23andMe."
Speier told The Mercury News that the next step is to approach federal officials to come up with a plan on how they would administer the testing.
"Wojcicki and the good people at 23andMe are eager to help reunite traumatized children who have been ripped from their parents as part of the President's cruel and legally baseless family separation policy," said Speier in an email statement. "I implore the President, Attorney General Sessions, and HHS Secretary Azar to accept this generous and altruistic offer, particularly in light of the fact that this administration has provided no evidence of consistent tracking of these children and their parents and nothing in the way of a coherent plan to reunite these families. DNA samples can be taken from all those in custody, with a commitment to respect their privacy, to ensure that these children are not made orphans by the American government."
First published on June 22, 9:14 a.m. PT.
Updates, 10:09 a.m. PT: Adds Congresswoman Jackie Speier statement.