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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

ICE launches Secure Communities strategy in 24 additional north Texas counties

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The following press release was posted on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website yesterday (July 8, 2010).  In summary, ICE intends to use biometric data to prioritize immigration enforcement actions against convicted criminal aliens.

Here is the release in its entirety:

DALLAS - On Wednesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
began using a new biometric information sharing capability in 24
additional northeast Texas counties that helps federal immigration
officials identify aliens, both lawfully and unlawfully present in the
United States, who are booked into local law enforcement's custody for a
crime. This capability is part of Secure Communities - ICE's
comprehensive strategy to improve and modernize the identification and
removal of criminal aliens from the United States.



Previously, fingerprint-based biometric records were taken of
individuals charged with a crime and booked into custody and checked for
criminal history information against the Department of Justice's (DOJ)
Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Now,
through enhanced information sharing between DOJ and the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS), fingerprint information submitted through the
state to the FBI will be simultaneously checked against both the FBI
criminal history records in IAFIS and the biometrics-based immigration
records in DHS's Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).



If fingerprints match those of someone in DHS's biometric system, the
new automated process notifies ICE, enabling federal authorities to
prioritize immigration enforcement action against those who are or
become subject to removal based on their criminal convictions. Top
priority is given to criminal aliens who pose the greatest threat to
public safety, such as those convicted of major drug offenses, murder,
rape, robbery and kidnapping.



"The Secure Communities strategy provides ICE with an effective tool
to identify criminal aliens in local custody," said Secure Communities
Executive Director David Venturella. "Enhancing public safety is at the
core of ICE's mission. Our goal is to use biometric information sharing
to remove criminal aliens, preventing them from being released back into
the community, with little or no additional burden on our law
enforcement partners."




"North Texas now has 41 jurisdictions participating in the Secure
Communities program," said Nuria T. Prendes, field office director for
the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations in Dallas. "This
program will soon be incorporated throughout Texas and throughout the
country so that we can best identify and target criminal aliens who are a
threat to public safety." Prendes oversees 128 counties in north Texas
and the State of Oklahoma.



"The ICE Secure Communities program brings 21st Century law
enforcement technology to all agencies so we can share information,"
said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith. "This improved communication will
better help us identify criminal aliens so we can make our communities
safer."



Today's announcement adds the following 24 northeast Texas counties
to the ICE Secure Communities program:

Anderson, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Gregg,
Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Panola, Rains, Red
River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.



With the expansion of the biometric information sharing capability to
these counties, ICE is now using it in 135 Texas jurisdictions. Across
the country, ICE is using this capability in 437 jurisdictions in 24
states. ICE expects to make it available in jurisdictions nationwide by
2013.



Since ICE began using this enhanced information sharing capability in
October 2008, immigration officers have removed from the United States
more than 8,500 criminal aliens convicted of Level 1 crimes, such as
murder, rape and kidnapping. Additionally, ICE has removed more than
22,200 criminal aliens convicted of Level 2 and 3 crimes, including
burglary and serious property crimes, which account for the majority of
crimes committed by aliens. In accordance with the Immigration and
Nationality Act, ICE continues to take action on aliens subject to
removal as resources permit.



The IDENT system is maintained by DHS's US-VISIT program and IAFIS is
maintained by the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS).



"US-VISIT is proud to support ICE, helping provide decision makers
with comprehensive, reliable information when and where they need it,"
said US-VISIT Director Robert Mocny. "By enhancing the interoperability
of DHS's and the FBI's biometric systems, we are able to give federal,
state and local decision makers information that helps them better
protect our communities and our nation."



"Under this plan, ICE will be utilizing FBI system enhancements that
allow improved information sharing at the state and local law
enforcement level based on positive identification of incarcerated
criminal aliens," said Daniel D. Roberts, assistant director of the
FBI's CJIS Division. "Additionally, ICE and the FBI are working together
to take advantage of the strong relationships already forged between
the FBI and state and local law enforcement necessary to assist ICE in
achieving its goals."



For more information, visit www.ice.gov/secure_communities.





-- ICE --

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