ICE Program Expands in California

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LOS ANGELES -- This week Riverside County jails began investigating the legal status of their prisoners in order to expedite the deportation of undocumented convicts, reports La Opinión. Another 25 counties are expected to join the federal Secure Communities program that compares fingerprints of those arrested in local jails with the Department of Homeland Security's immigration database, according to ICE. Riverside was the last county in Southern California to join the tracking system.

Richard Rocha, spokesperson for the Secure Communities office in Washington, D.C., said they hope to expand the program beyond county jails to include other types of detention centers. Pro-immigrant activists have criticized the aggressive expansion of the program, arguing that it is not doing its job of deporting the most dangerous offenders since most of the people who have been deported do not have criminal records. The Secure Communities federal office contends that the program has grown in California, more than in any other state, as a result of the high concentration of immigrant populations and its proximity to the border. All border county jails are part of the program, according to Rocha. Since the program began in 2008, more than 33,300 convicts have been deported.