The Department of Health and Human Services is using DNA testing to reunite migrant families separated at the border.

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Officials told reporters Thursday DNA tests are being used to confirm that children are being returned to people who claim to be their parents.

This is because children in HHS custody are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, officials said.

However, DNA tests are usually the backup in determining the relationship between a child and an adult.

HHS typically uses birth certificates or other documents to verify relationships, but the agency must reunite some children by June 10 to comply with a court order.

“Because of the compressed time frame, the process of using documentation is not going to be completed within the time frame allowed by the court decision for the great majority of these children,” said Jonathan White, deputy director for children’s programs at the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

“For this reason, the decision has been made to use the faster process of DNA verification to confirm that biological relationship.”

Why it matters: Advocates for migrant children and their families worry about the government storing the DNA and using it for other purposes. However, White said the information will be used “solely” to reunite families, and for no other purpose.

The Hill has more on this.

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