Verifying the Family? A Comparison of DNA Analysis for Family Reunification in Three European Countries (Austria, Finland and Germany)

In: European Journal of Migration and Law
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  • 1 Faculty of Social Sciences, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Department of Political Science and Research Platform ‘Life-Science-Governance’, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract

This article explores and compares the legal frameworks and regulatory practices of the use of DNA analysis for family reunification in Austria, Finland, and Germany. Based on a document analysis, we first provide an overview of the international legislation for family reunification and analyse the situation in the European Union. We show that the three countries have significantly different legislative practices in place to regulate parental testing in immigration contexts and to verify family relations. We outline the key societal and political implications that are associated with these country specific forms of legislation and regulatory practices and highlight the ambivalent role of DNA analysis in family reunification.

  • 1)

    European Migration Network (2008), Family Reunification: Synthesis Report. This and all following reports, ad-hoc queries and other resources from the European Migration Network are available online at http://emn.intrasoft-intl.com/ (accessed 28 February 2013); Eurostat, ‘Residence permits issued to non-EU citizens’, 43 Eurostat Statistics in Focus (2011), 1–8; A. Müller (2012), Misuse of the Right to Family Reunification: Marriages of convenience and false declarations of parenthood, Nuremberg: Federal Office for Migration and Refugees; G. Ruffer, ‘Pushed beyond Recognition? The Liberality of Family Reunification Policies in the EU’, 37 Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2011), 935–951.

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    European Migration Network (2008), supra fn. 1; European Migration Network (2009), Ad-Hoc Query on Conducting other investigation (using a DNA test) in family reunification; T. Heinemann and T. Lemke, ‘Suspect families: DNA kinship testing in German immigration policy’, Sociology, in press, DOI: 10.1177/0038038512454352; E. La Spina, ‘DNA Testing for Family Reunification in Europe: An Exceptional Resource?’, 6 Migraciones Internacionales (2012), 39–74.

  • 5)

    See also K. Jastram and K. Newland (2003), ‘Family Unity and Refugee Protection, in: E. Feller, V. Türk and F. Nicholson (eds), Refugee protection in international law. UNHCR’s global consultations on international protection, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 555–603.

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    A. John (2003), Family Reunification for Migrants and Refugees – A Forgotten Human Right?, M.A. Thesis. Human Rights Centre, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, available online at http://www.fd.uc.pt/hrc/pdf/papers/arturojohn.pdf (accessed 28 February 2013); see also Cholewinski (2002), supra fn. 6.

  • 10)

    Schibel (2004), supra fn. 9.

  • 12)

    European Migration Network (2008), supra fn. 1, European Migration Network (2009), Ad-Hoc Query on Age limit for Family reunification; European Migration Network (2010), Ad-Hoc Query on Family Reunification for Minors; European Migration Network (2010), Ad-Hoc Query on the concept of family member.

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    European Commission (2008), Report on the application of Directive 2003/86 on family reunification of third country nationals, available online at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-08–611_en.htm (accessed 28 February 2013).

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    European Migration Network (2012), Misuse of the Right to Family Reunification: Marriages of Convenience and False Declarations of Parenthood, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

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    J. Ecker (2008), Familienzusammenführung. Die Umsetzung der Richtlinie 2003/86/EG in Österreich, Wien: Verlag Österreich.

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    European Migration Network (2010), Ad-Hoc Query on the concept of family member, supra fn. 12.

  • 22)

    A. Walter (2009), Familienzusammenführung in Europa. Völkerrecht, Gemeinschaftsrecht, Nationales Recht, Baden-Baden: Nomos

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    Bundesregierung (2008), DNS-Abstammungsgutachten im Rahmen von aufenthaltsrechtlichen Identitätsfeststellungen, Drucksache 16/7698, available online at http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/16/ 076/1607698.pdf (accessed 28 February 2013); W. Frenz, ‘Begrenzung ausländerrechtlicher Maßnahmen durch europäische Grundrechte‘, 28 Zeitschrift für Ausländerrecht und Ausländerpolitik (2008), 385–388.

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    Migration Policy Index (2011), Family Reunion, Available at http://www.mipex.eu/family-reunion (accessed 28 February 2013).

  • 29)

    See P. Hautamäki (2007), ‘Diasporic Authenticity: Connecting Genes and Building Families through DNA Testing in Somali Family Reunification in Finland’, in A. Kusow and S. Bjork (eds), From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context, Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, pp. 119–133; P. Hautamäki (2004), Pojat! Somalipoikien kiistanalainen nuoruus Suomessa, Helsinki: Nuorisotutkimusverkosto especially pp. 139–162. Somalis were singled out in the ad hoc query on DNA testing and they were also targeted by the policies of DNA testing in the USA. See European Migration Network (2009), supra fn. 2; S. Villiers, ‘Brave New World: The Use and Potential Misuse of DNA Technology in Immigration Law’, 30 Boston College Third World Law Journal (2010), 239–271.

  • 30)

    R. McKie, ‘Eureka moment that led to the discovery of DNA fingerprinting’, The Observer (24 May 2009), 16; see also A.J. Jeffreys, V. Wilson and S.L. Thein, ‘Individual-specific “fingerprints” of human DNA’, 316 Nature (1985), 76–79.

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  • 32)

    COM 2011 735, supra fn. 15.

  • 33)

    European Migration Network (2009), supra fn. 2.

  • 34)

    COM 2011 735, supra fn 15.

  • 35)

    Finnish Ministry of the Interior (2012) Replies to the questions in the Green Paper on Family reunification, available online at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-is-new/public-consultation/2012/pdf/0023/famreun/memberstatesnationalgovernments/finland_en.pdf (accessed 28 February 2013).

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    Finnish Immigration Service (2008), DNA Testing has United a Record Number of Immigrant Families, available online at http://www.migri.fi/for_the_media/releases/press_releases/press_releases/1/0/dna_testing_has_united_a_record_number_of_immigrant_families (accessed 28 February 2013).

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    J. Mourão Permoser (2010), Redefining Membership: European Union Policy on the Rights of Third-Country Nationals, PhD Thesis, University of Vienna, Vienna.

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    Bundesasylamt (2010), Information für Antragsteller im Ausland zur Möglichkeit einer DNA-Analyse, Handout of the Bundesasylamt.

  • 46)

    No. 27.0.5 of the AVwV AufenthG, 2009.

  • 47)

    Heinemann and Lemke (2012), supra fn. 2.

  • 50)

    Bundesregierung (2008), supra fn. 10; Bundesregierung (2010), Vorwürfe gegen Ausländerbehörden wegen Gentests bei binationalen Eltern.

  • 52)

    Heinemann & Lemke (2012), supra fn. 2.

  • 53)

    See J. Villiers (2010), supra fn. 29.

  • 57)

    B. Prainsack (2010) ‘Key issues in DNA profiling and databasing: implications for governance’, in: R. Hindmarsh and B. Prainsack (eds), Genetic suspects: Global governance of forensic DNA profiling and databasing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 15–39.; E. Zadok, G. Ben-Or and G. Fisman (2010), ‘Forensic utilisation of voluntarily collected DNA samples: law enforcement versus human rights’, in: R. Hindmarsh and B. Prainsack (eds), Genetic suspects: Global governance of forensic DNA profiling and databasing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 40–62.

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