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7. Telegram to all diplomatic and consular posts, Department of State, providing information on genetic testing for visa applications based on family (March 12, 1999)


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1. BEGIN SUMMARY. THIS CABLE SUPPLEMENTS PREVIOUS GUIDANCE

ON GENETIC TESTING (REFS), PROVIDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

ON WHEN GENETIC TESTING IS APPROPRIATE, WHAT PERCENTAGE OF

PARENTAGE PROBABILITY IS DESIRABLE, AND WHAT INFORMATION

LABS NEED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE USEFUL RESULTS. END SUMMARY

WHEN IS GENETIC TESTING APPROPRIATE?

2. GENETIC TESTING IS EXPENSIVE, TIME CONSUMING AND

LOGISTICALLY COMPLEX, AND SHOULD NEVER BECOME A ROUTINE

PART OF THE VISA ADJUDICATION PROCESS. CURRENTLY, NO TEST

CAN PROVE PARENTAGE WITH 100 PERCENT CERTAINTY. IN FACT,

DIFFERENT LABS TESTING THE SAME SAMPLES CAN REPORT

DIFFERENT RESULTS DEPENDING ON THE GENETIC MARKERS TESTED.

THEREFORE, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, CONSULAR OFFICERS SHOULD

MAKE DETERMINATIONS OF PARENTAGE BASED ON EVIDENCE SUCH AS

BIRTH CERTIFICATES, BAPTISMAL CERTIFICATES, ETC. ONLY WHEN

SUCH EVIDENCE IS UNAVAILABLE OR NOT CREDIBLE IS GENETIC

TESTING ADVISABLE.

3. WHEN GENETIC TESTING APPEARS WARRANTED, THE CONOFF

SHOULD ADVISE THE APPLICANT THAT GENETIC TESTING MAY/MAY

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ESTABLISH THE VALIDITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP; THAT SUCH

TESTING IS ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY; AND THAT ALL COSTS OF

TESTING AND RELATED EXPENSES MUST BE BORNE BY THE

PETITIONER/BENEFICIARY AND PAID TO THE LABORATORY IN

ADVANCE.

4. THE APPROVAL OF A VISA PETITION IS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE

OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PETITIONER AND THE

BENEFICIARY. 9 FAN 42.43 N1 STIPULATES THAT ONLY IF A

CONSULAR OFFICER KNOWS OR HAS REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE

BENEFICIARY IS NOT ENTITLED TO STATUS SHALL A CONSULAR

OFFICER RETURN THE PETITION TO THE INS APPROVING OFFICE.

SUCH A DETERMINATION MUST BE BASED UPON EVIDENCE THAT THE

INS DID NOT HAVE AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF ADJUDICATION. DNA

ANALYSIS WHICH EXCLUDES THE TESTED INDIVIDUAL AS THE PARENT

SUFFICES TO MEET THIS BURDEN OF PROOF.

WHAT PERCENTAGE OF PROBABILITY IS ACCEPTABLE?

5. REF A STATES THAT AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF BLOOD BANKS

(AABB) STANDARDS MANDATES 99 PERCENT TO BE THE MINIMUM

REQUIREMENT FOR THE PROBABILITY OF PATERNITY, EXCEPT IN

RARE CIRCUMSTANCES. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS STATEMENT OVER-

SIMPLIFIES MATTERS AND DOES NOT/NOT MEAN THAT ALL RESULTS

99 PERCENT AND HIGHER SHOULD BE ACCEPTED AS PROOF OF

PATERNITY (MATERNITY), OR THAT ALL RESULTS BELOW 99 PERCENT

EXCLUDE PATERNITY (MATERNITY).

6. THE TYPE OF TEST PERFORMED, THE GENETIC PROFILE OF THE

LOCAL POPULATION AND FACTORS SPECIFIC TO THE CASE AT HAND

WILL ALL AFFECT THE LEVEL OF PROBABILITY WHICH A POST

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SHOULD REQUIRE. THUS, EACH POST SHOULD CONSULT WITH LOCAL

PHYSICIANS AND LABS, CONSIDER LOCAL FRAUD PROFILES, AND

ESTABLISH A POST-SPECIFIC DESIRED LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE.

POST SHOULD PLACE THIS INFORMATION IN A COVER LETTER WHICH

SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO LABS WITH EACH REQUEST FOR GENETIC

TESTING. ANY POST WHICH PROPOSES TO IMPOSE A STANDARD

HIGHER THAN 99 PERCENT SHOULD PROVIDE A JUSTIFICATION TO

VO/F/P BEFORE IMPLEMENTING THE STANDARD.

WHAT DOES THE LAB NEED TO KNOW?

-- TYPE OF TESTING DESIRED

7. RFLP MAPPING IS THE MOST POWERFUL TYPE OF GENETIC

TESTING CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. RFLP MAPPING CAN TYPICALLY

EXCLUDE AN AVERAGE OF 99.9 PERCENT OF FALSELY CLAIMED

PARENTS AND WILL GENERALLY PROVIDE A PROBABILITY OF

PATERNITY (MATERNITY) IN EXCESS OF 99 PERCENT IN CASES

WHERE THE ALLEGED PARENT IS NOT EXCLUDED. RFLP MAPPING

REQUIRES RELATIVELY LARGE BLOOD SAMPLES, HOWEVER, AND

CANNOT BE USED IN COUNTRIES WHERE COLLECTING AND SHIPPING

BLOOD SAMPLES IS NOT POSSIBLE. IN CASES WHERE SUBSTITUTION

OF A CLOSE RELATIVE IS LIKELY, POSTS SHOULD REQUEST THE LAB

TO TEST AT LEAST 6 GENETIC MARKERS IF RFLP MAPPING IS USED.

8. PCR BASED TESTING IS COMMONLY USED TO EVALUATE DNA

SAMPLES COLLECTED BY SCRAPING THE CELLS LINING THE INSIDE

OF THE CHEEKS WITH A SWAB (AKA BUCCAL SWAB). PCR BASED

TESTING IS TYPICALLY 10 TO 100 TIMES LESS POWERFUL THAN

RFLP MAPPING, BUT IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE IN COUNTRIES

WHERE BLOOD SAMPLES CANNOT BE COLLECTED OR SHIPPED. IN

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CASES WHERE SUBSTITUTION OF A CLOSE RELATIVE IS LIKELY,

POSTS SHOULD REQUEST THE LAB TO TEST AT LEAST 15 GENETIC

MARKERS IF PCR BASED TESTING IS USED.

-- LOCAL GENETIC PROFILE

9. LAB RESULTS CAN BE INTERPRETED DIFFERENTLY BASED ON THE

GENETIC PROFILE OF THE LOCAL POPULATION. IN COUNTRIES

WHERE THERE IS A HIGH DEGREE OF INTERMARRIAGE AMONG FAMILY

MEMBERS AND THE POPULATION IS HOMOGENEOUS, A PROBABILITY OF

99 PERCENT MIGHT NOT BE CONCLUSIVE (AN UNCLE'S BLOOD

SUBSTITUTED FOR THAT OF THE FATHER MIGHT EASILY RESULT IN A

99 PERCENT PROBABILITY). IN SUCH A POPULATION, A POST MIGHT

ADVISE LABS THAT A HIGHER THAN USUAL DEGREE OF PROBABILITY

IS DESIRED (FOR EXAMPLE, 99.5 PERCENT) AND PROVIDE THE LAB

WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE LOCAL GENETIC PROFILE. THE LAB

MAY THEN TEST A WIDER RANGE OF GENETIC MARKERS TO ACHIEVE A

MORE REFINED RESULT.

10. IN HIGHLY HETEROGENEOUS POPULATIONS WHERE LITTLE

INTRA-FAMILY MIXING OCCURS, ON THE OTHER HAND, A RESULT OF

99 PERCENT OR EVEN SOMEWHAT LESS MIGHT BE CONCLUSIVE.

AGAIN, IF THE LAB IS AWARE OF THE LOCAL CONDITIONS, IT CAN

TAILOR ITS TESTING TO MEET A POST'S NEEDS.

-- CASE SPECIFIC INFORMATION

11. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT TEST RESULTS BE

EVALUATED IN LIGHT OF NON-GENETIC EVIDENCE GATHERED BY THE

CONSULAR AND MEDICAL PERSONNEL COORDINATING THE TESTING.

SUCH INFORMATION MAY INCLUDE CLUES OF PREMEDITATED

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MISREPRESENTATION OF ONE OR MORE MEMBERS OF A FAMILY.

AGAIN, THIS INFORMATION MAY AFFECT THE LAB'S ASSUMPTIONS,

ANALYSIS OF THE TEST RESULTS AND EVEN THE NUMBER OF GENETIC

MARKERS COMPARED.

-- FOLLOW-UP WITH LAB

12. POSTS SHOULD FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE LABORATORY FOR

CLARIFICATION IF THE LAB'S FINDINGS ARE INCONCLUSIVE. LABS

ARE ABLE TO CONDUCT ANALYSIS OF ADDITIONAL GENETIC MARKERS

TO HELP RESOLVE SUCH CASES. IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE FOR A

LABORATORY TO CALCULATE THE LIKELIHOOD THE TESTED

INDIVIDUAL IS AN UNCLE AS WELL AS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT HE IS

A FATHER. WHERE SUCH CONCERNS EXIST, OFFICERS SHOULD ASK

THE LAB TO CALCULATE WHICH RELATIONSHIP IS FAVORED AND BY

HOW MUCH. A LABORATORY WHICH STATES IT IS UNABLE TO COMPLY

WITH THIS TYPE OF A REQUEST SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR TESTS

WHEN SUBSTITUTIONS ARE A CONCERN, AND POSTS ARE REQUESTED

TO CONTACT VO/F/P IN SUCH INSTANCES FOR FURTHER GUIDANCE.

PICKERING

NOTE: POUCH ADDRESSEES PROTECTED BY IRM/MSO

UNCLASSIFIED

<< END OF DOCUMENT >>



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