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Federal Officials Tout Program To Deport Criminal Illegal Immigrants

Audio

Aired 11/12/09

A federal program launched six months ago has helped law enforcement authorities identify more than 6,000 illegal immigrants as they are booked into San Diego County jails. Federal officials say the program is a success.

A federal program launched six months ago has helped law enforcement authorities identify more than 6,000 illegal immigrants as they're booked into San Diego County jails. Federal officials say the program is a success.

Federal immigration officials have struggled for years to identify which prisoners are illegal immigrants.

The Secure Communities program, which was launched nationwide last year, is intended to make the process easier. It allows local authorities to check the fingerprints of every person booked into jail against a federal immigration database.

People found to be in the country illegally are eventually turned over to immigration officials.

Nationwide, local jails participating in the program have identified 111,000 illegal immigrants.

In San Diego, about one-quarter of the 6,700 people authorities have identified have been deported.

Federal officials praise the program for its efficiency. However, critics worry that it can be used as a dragnet.

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