San Diego County sheriff's deputies today became the first law enforcement personnel in California to have access to technology that uses fingerprints to determine whether jail inmates are in the country illegally.
The technology is part of the Secure Communities program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under the program, the fingerprints of everyone booked into the county's three largest jails will be checked against U.S. Department of Homeland Security records.
Prior to the program, fingerprints were used only to check for criminal records with the U.S. Department of Justice.
"Our goal with this ICE effort is to use information sharing to prevent criminal aliens from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our local law enforcement partners," said Secure Communities Executive Director David Venturella.
Last year, San Diego County sheriff's deputies released more than 6,500 jail inmates to ICE agents for deportation.
"(We've) been working side-by-side with ICE for many years in an effort to identify criminal aliens booked into our detention facilities," Sheriff Bill Kolender said. "This new technology will enhance our partnership and bolster our commitment to keeping our communities safe."
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