On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began using a new biometric information sharing capability in Forsyth County that helps federal immigration officials identify aliens, both lawfully and unlawfully present in the United States, who are booked into local law enforcement's custody for a crime. This capability is part of Secure Communities - ICE's comprehensive strategy to improve and modernize the identification and removal of criminal aliens from the United States. ICE is now using the program in 39 North Carolina jurisdictions. Across the country, ICE is using this capability in 544 jurisdictions in 27 states. ICE expects to make it available in jurisdictions nationwide by 2013.
Through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice, Secure Communities enhances fingerprint-based biometric technology used by local law enforcement agencies during their booking process. This enhanced technology enables fingerprints submitted during the booking process to be checked against FBI criminal history records and DHS records, including immigration status, providing valuable information to accurately identify those in custody. The process applies to all individuals arrested and booked into custody, not just those suspected as being foreign nationals.
When fingerprints match DHS records, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is notified and promptly determines if enforcement action is required. Secure Communities does not authorize local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.
ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens by focusing efforts on the most dangerous and violent offenders. This includes criminal aliens determined to be removable and charged with or convicted of crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses, or those involving threats to national security.
Since ICE began using this enhanced information sharing capability in October 2008, immigration officers have removed from the United States more than 9,800 criminal aliens convicted of Level 1 crimes, such as murder, rape and kidnapping. Additionally, ICE has removed more than 24,800 criminal aliens convicted of Level 2 and 3 crimes, including burglary and serious property crimes, which account for the majority of crimes committed by aliens. ICE does not regard aliens charged with, but not yet convicted of crimes, as "criminal aliens." Instead, a "criminal alien" is an alien convicted of a crime. In accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, ICE continues to take action on aliens subject to removal as resources permit.
Secure Communities brochures:
Secure Communities - English version [pdf/659kb/2p]
Secure Communities - Spanish version [pdf/659kb/2p]