The Secure Communities biometric identification technology

Criminal Alien Removal from US Communities Modernized, Say Feds

By Jim Kouri
Thursday, September 3, 2009

According to a report submitted to the 14,000-member National Association of Chiefs of Police, law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County will benefit from a new initiative developed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security that modernizes the process used to accurately identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens from the community.

The initiative, Secure Communities, is administered by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Secure Communities enables ICE to determine whether an individual arrested by a participating state or local law enforcement agency is a dangerous criminal alien and take the appropriate action to remove the individual from the community.

The Secure Communities biometric identification technology is now accessible to more than 40 state and local law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County that use electronic booking machines maintained by the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System. The program has already been implemented in approximately 78 counties, including Ventura and San Diego, with nationwide coverage expected by the end of 2013.

Formerly as part of the booking process, arrestees’ fingerprints were taken and checked for criminal history information against the DOJ biometric system maintained by the FBI. With the implementation of Secure Communities in Los Angeles County, the fingerprint information will now be simultaneously checked against both the FBI criminal history records and the biometrics-based immigration records maintained by the DHS.

If any fingerprints match those of someone in DHS’ biometric system, the new automated process notifies ICE. ICE evaluates each case to determine the individual’s immigration status and takes appropriate enforcement action after offenders complete their prison terms. Top priority is given to aliens who pose the greatest threat to public safety, such as those with prior convictions for major drug offenses, murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping.

“Secure Communities is a DHS initiative to more broadly manage and modernize the processes used to identify and ultimately remove dangerous criminal aliens from our communities,