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ICE adds 12 more jurisdictions to Secure Communities

Immigration and Customs Enforcement added a dozen more counties in three southern states to its growing list of jurisdictions using its Secure Communities biometric information-sharing program, bringing the total to 1,400 nationwide.

In Georgia, it added Clark, Habersham, Jackson and Pickens counties. The agency is using Secure Communities capabilities in 34 jurisdictions in that state.

In South Carolina, ICE added the capabilities in Clarendon, Fairfield and Lee counties, bringing that state’s total to 32 participating jurisdictions.

In Alabama, it added Lamar, Lawrence, Marengo, Marion and Monroe counties. It now uses the capabilities in 30 jurisdictions in the state.

"Secure Communities enhances public safety by enabling ICE to identify and remove criminal aliens more efficiently and effectively from the United States," said Secure Communities Acting Assistant Director Marc Rapp in a June 14 statement. "As we expand ICE's use of biometric information sharing nationwide, we are helping to keep communities safe and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system."

ICE claims the enhanced information-sharing capability, which began in October 2008, has removed more than 77,000 criminal aliens - more than 28,000 of whom were convicted of felonies such as murder, rape, kidnapping and the sexual abuse of children. The program uses partnerships with local and state jailers to build domestic deportation capacity based on comparing electronic fingerprint gathered locally with federal databases, including those of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.

Some states aren’t so sure the program is working as it is supposed to, however. The governors of Illinois, Massachusetts and New York have said recently that they are withdrawing from it or refusing to sign the DHS’s agreement for their participation in the program. A bill currently moving through the California state legislature is aimed at renegotiating the terms of the state’s Secure Communities agreement with DHS.

The governors and some state law enforcement officials have said the capabilities aren’t working as DHS said they would and the information gathered by the capabilities winds up helping deport more non-criminal aliens than the violent aliens DHS says the capabilities are aimed at.

ICE said it continues to work with its law enforcement partners across the country to responsibly and effectively implement this federal information sharing capability and plans to reach complete nationwide deployment by 2013.


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