ARCpoint Labs of Golden Valley owner Brad Davis was recently featured in the Golden Valley Sun Post discussing immigration DNA testing in light of the Syrian refugee crisis and Golden Valley’s growing Somalian population.
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Golden Valley company likely to benefit from Syrian refugee immigration
By Gina Purcell
President Barack Obama’s announcement in September to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States in 2016 may be a controversial topic among citizens nationwide, but for one Golden Valley company, the additional immigrants means a spike in business.
Brad Davis, of Minnetonka, has owned and operated Golden Valley’s ARCpoint Labs, 701 Decatur Ave. N., Suite 101, for three years.This location has only three full-time staff members, Davis, Phlebotomist Cherise Baggett and Office Manager Donna Williams.
This location has only three full-time staff members, Davis, Phlebotomist Cherise Baggett and Office Manager Donna Williams.
ARCpoint Labs is a national full-service third-party provider and administrator for drug, alcohol, DNA and steroid testing. Additional services include employment, background and wellness screening and corporate wellness programs.
There are 85 ARCpoint Labs across the country.
One of the Golden Valley location’s increasingly popular services is immigrant DNA testing. “Part of why it has taken off so much here in the Twin Cities is because there’s such a huge influx of Somali population,” Davis said. “There’s a real need for it here in this market place.”
Davis said nine times out of 10 the immigrant providing DNA is seeking U.S. citizenship and a DNA test is part of the process. Of the 30 DNA tests collected per month at ARCpoint Labs, roughly 12 are from immigrants, according to Davis.
Immigration DNA tests are used when an immigrant living in the U.S. wants to bring a family member here as well.
It is an expensive service. Although pricing depends on the country of origin, funding an immigrant DNA test costs hundreds of dollars.
Due to the lack of records in many third world countries, most immigrants wishing to bring their children into the country must complete a DNA test to prove their relation.
“You can’t just come in and say, ‘Hey, I want to do an immigration DNA test,’” Davis said. “The immigration DNA needs to be initiated by a government entity.”
Immigrants may only get a DNA test if ordered by the U.S. Department of State. ARCpoint Labs receives the government-provided request for a DNA test. The collector and donor must fill out the necessary paperwork including a chain of custody document. The donor provides a DNA sample collected via a cheek swab.
That sample then gets sent to an American Association of Blood Banks accredited lab where it is analyzed.
The same government-provided DNA request is sent to the U.S. embassy in the family member’s country of residence.
This process can take several months to complete. The DNA swab collected from the family member is sent to the same lab and both samples are compared. The results are sent back to ARCpoint Labs where a copy is provided to the donor and the U.S. Embassy.
If something goes wrong, the second half of this process could take more than a year to complete.
“Things periodically can get really slowed down based on diseases or outbreaks that may be occurring,” Davis said.
Several years ago, the Ebola outbreak caused one case to take 18 months to complete, according to Davis.
Once the DNA is deemed a match, arrangements can be made for travel to the U.S.
Like the large Somali population in the metro, when Syrian refugees begin making the U.S. their home in the coming years, Davis anticipates another spike in business.
“The Twin Cities as a community is usually open arms to those refugees coming in from war torn areas,” Davis said.
Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]