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Secure Communities | ICE

April 24, 2015

Immigration Enforcement
Secure Communities

The highest priority of any law enforcement agency is to protect the communities it serves. When it comes to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses its limited resources on those who have been arrested for breaking criminal laws.

ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators.

Secure Communities is a simple and common sense way to carry out ICE’s priorities. It uses an already-existing federal information-sharing partnership between ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that helps to identify criminal aliens without imposing new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. For decades, local jurisdictions have shared the fingerprints of individuals who are arrested or booked into custody with the FBI to see if they have a criminal record. Under Secure Communities, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints to DHS to check against its immigration databases. If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction, ICE takes enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history, and other factors – as well as those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws.

Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement. The federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate.

Only federal DHS officers make immigration enforcement decisions, and they do so only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of local, state, or federal law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

The Basics

More than 283,000 convicted criminal aliens have been removed as a result of Secure Communities interoperability, by which the FBI automatically sends fingerprints of anyone arrested or booked by police for a state or local criminal offense to DHS to check against its immigration and enforcement records so that ICE can determine whether that person is a criminal alien or falls under ICE’s civil immigration enforcement priorities.

Since its inception in 2008 with 14 jurisdictions, Secure Communities has expanded to all 3,181 jurisdictions within 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five (5) U.S. Territories. Full implementation was completed on January 22, 2013.

How Does Secure Communities Work?

ICE receives annual appropriations from Congress sufficient to remove a limited number of the more than 10 million individuals estimated to be in the U.S. who lack lawful status or are removable because of a criminal conviction. Given this reality, ICE must set sensible priorities.

Under the Obama administration, ICE has set clear and common-sense priorities for immigration enforcement focused on identifying and removing those aliens with criminal convictions. In addition to criminal aliens, ICE focuses on recent illegal entrants, repeat violators who game the immigration system, those who fail to appear at immigration hearings, and fugitives who have already been ordered removed by an immigration judge.

These priorities have led to significant results. In fiscal year 2013, ICE’s prioritized, targeted enforcement resulted in the removal of more than 368,000 aliens, of which 98 percent fell into one of ICE’s stated civil immigration enforcement priorities.

via Secure Communities | ICE.

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