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Whose Child Is This?: Genetic Analysis and Family Reunification Immigration in France

Posted by on Friday, July 20, 2012 in Notes, Vol. 41 No. 5, Volume 41, Volumes.

In an attempt to limit fraudulent family reunification immigration and control how many migrants enter its borders, France statutorily implemented the use of DNA testing in family reunification immigration in late 2007. Where an immigrating child possesses suspicious documentation, and the child is seeking to reunite with his or her mother in France, the statute provides for voluntary DNA testing to establish that the child has a biological connection with the mother. The requirement of proof of a biological link between family members is diametrically opposed to family recognition policies that apply to French citizens, which emphasize the establishment of social ties rather than genetic links.

This Note asserts that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) would find France’s 2007 immigration statute violative of the right to family life under § 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as the statute creates a dual standard of family recognition for French citizens and immigrant families who are seeking to be unified in that country. In turn, this Note analyzes the public policy rationale behind the DNA testing statute and concludes that the statute could adversely affect desirable social standards. Finally, this Note analyzes how states can limit immigration and protect themselves from immigration fraud while also being mindful of human rights.

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