Elise Foley reports on March 8, 2012:
WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Thursday that the agency has no plans to suspend a controversial program that gives police authority to detect undocumented immigrants, even in jurisdictions under investigation for racial profiling.
“From our perspective that is a fairly draconian step, and we’re very concerned about the public safety implications of not identifying serious offenders who would otherwise be released to the streets,” Morton told a House of Representatives subcommittee on homeland security.
ICE has remained staunchly committed to the Secure Communities program, despite opposition from many immigrant-rights groups, lawmakers and law enforcement offices. And even though the agency, partnered with the Department of Justice, is investigating whether local police are engaged in racial profiling, the administration of President Obama plans to move ahead at the same rate to implement the program nationwide.
Secure Communities requires police to share fingerprint data on all arrestees with the federal government, namely the FBI, which transfers the data to ICE in order to detect undocumented immigrants. The program currently exists in 2,385 jurisdictions, including all along the Southwest border, and will be rolled out in all 3,181 nationwide by 2013. Read more …