US Homeland Security to Expand ‘Secure Communities’ Nationwide
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to broaden its Secure Communities program nationwide by 2013, according to a DHS release. Administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency within DHS, Secure Communities aims to identify and possibly remove illegal immigrants with criminal histories from the United States.
The program, which began in October 2008, was expanded on Aug. 10, to all 25 counties that line the Southwest border of the United States In the past 18 months, the program has grown from covering 14 U.S. jurisdictions to 544.
Under Secure Communities (S-Comm), when an individual is arrested, his or her fingerprints are recorded with a biometric scanner, and all available information about the arrestee is sent to ICE. The agency then checks immigration records and criminal databases for information on the individual, and if a criminal conviction and illegal immigration are found, the person can be deported.
According to the DHS, the program is meant for “identifying and removing convicted criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat to American communities.”