The Federal government has been working to expand a program that identifies illegal immigrants by comparing fingerprints. The program calls for the fingerprints of anyone who is booked for any crime to be run against the FBI criminal history databases as well as Dept of Homeland Security records. This would determine if the individual was in the country illegally and if they had ever been arrested.
Since the program began three years ago, 467 jurisdictions in 26 states have joined. ICE plans to have “Secure Communities” implemented in every jail in the country by 2013.
Although San Francisco requested not to participate in the program it was implemented June 8. Eileen Hirst, the chief of staff for San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, said it happened “without our input or approval.” The San Francisco Sheriff is opposed to the program because he believes it not only goes against their sanctuary city policy of only reporting foreign born suspects of felonies but would cause immigration status confirmation on someone who misses a court date for a traffic stop. “ Now, we’re reporting every single individual who comes into our custody and gets fingerprinted,” Hirst said.
Washington DC has decided not to implement the program because of a bill that would prohibit authorities from sharing information with ICE out of concern for immigrants civil rights has been introduced in the city council.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter is currently deciding “ how or if to move forward” with the Secure Communities program.