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Secure Communities closes in on 1,000 jurisdictions nationwide

With counties in Oklahoma and Louisiana added at the end of November, the number of communities in which Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has implemented its biometric Secure Communities identification program is close to 1,000.

The 10 counties added to ICE’s shared biometric information program since Nov. 23 bring the total number of jurisdictions with the capabilities to 800.

ICE said Nov. 30 it began using the capabilities in Canadian, Cleveland, Garfield, Grady, Lincoln, Logan, McClain and Pottawatomie counties in Oklahoma. The agency said it is using Secure Communities capabilities in a total of 10 jurisdictions in the state.

A week earlier, ICE said it began using the capabilities in Caddo and St. Tammany parishes in Louisiana, bring the total in that state to seven.

The Secure Communities program shares electronic fingerprint information taken by local law enforcement with the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Fingerprints submitted through the state to the FBI are automatically checked against both the FBI criminal history records in the DOJ’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System and the biometrics-based immigration records in DHS's Automated Biometric Identification System, according to ICE.

ICE contends that sharing the information helps remove criminal illegal aliens and said since it began using the information sharing capability in October 2008, immigration more than 50,600 aliens convicted of a crime nave been removed from the US. Critics of the program, including several law enforcement organizations contend the program breeds distrust with civilians already reluctant to report crime.


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