The US federal government will start collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency. The DNA samples will be collected with a cheek swab.
Congress has also granted federal law enforcement agencies the power to collect DNA samples from foreigners who are detained for any reason, even if they have not been charged with a crime.
The new policy is a departure from the current practice that limits DNA collection to convicted felons.
Justice Department spokesman ErikAblin said the new DNA collection is subject to the same privacy laws that are applied to current DNA sampling. None of of the DNA samples will be used for identifying genetic traits or diseases.
Congress has given the Justice Department the authority to expand its DNA collection through two laws passed in 2005 and 2006.
There are dozens of federal law enforcement agencies. Estimates put the total number of federal arrests at about 140,000 per year.
Federal officials estimate the new collecting policy will add DNA samples from an additional 1.2 million people to the database each year.
Supporters of the expanded collection say that DNA sampling could get violent criminals behind bars and stop them from committing additional crimes.
A 2005 Chicago study found that 53 murders and rapes could have been stopped if a DNA sample had been collected upon arrest.
The American Civil Liberties Union believes that the new law will allow the government to collect and store DNA samples of people who are not guilty of any crime.
However, if a person is arrested but not convicted of any crime, they can request that the Justice Department destroy the sample and remove their information from the DNA database.