ICE using new program in county

KINGMAN - On Tuesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began using a new biometric information program in Mohave 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.

Previously, fingerprint-based biometric records were taken of individuals charged with a crime and booked into custody, and then individuals were checked for criminal history information against the Department of Justice's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Now, fingerprint information submitted through the state to the FBI will be automatically checked against both the FBI criminal history records in IAFIS and the biometrics-based immigration records in DHS's Automated Biometric Identification System.

If fingerprints match those of someone in DHS's biometric system, the new system notifies ICE. ICE evaluates each case to determine the individual's immigration status and takes appropriate action.

ICE is now using the program in eight Arizona jurisdictions, including Mohave, Cochise, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai and Yuma counties. The program is also being used in 467 jurisdictions in 26 states. ICE expects to make it available in jurisdictions nationwide by 2013.

According to ICE, since the department began using the program 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.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov/secure_communities.