ICE Expands Efforts to Locate Criminal Aliens in Additional California Counties

Sacramento and Solano Counties’ law enforcement agencies are the first in northern California to benefit from a program developed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security that identifies and removes dangerous criminal aliens.

On January 12, 2010, law enforcement agencies in Sacramento and Solano counties became the first counties in northern California to participate in an initiative developed by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS), referred to as Secure Communities. The Secure Communities program has been designed to remove dangerous criminal aliens from the community and is administered by U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Secure Communities permits ICE to determine whether an individual arrested by a participating state or local law enforcement agency is a dangerous criminal alien so ICE can take the appropriate action to remove the individual from the community.

The Secure Communities program makes biometric identification technology accessible to the local law enforcement agencies in Sacramento and Solano counties that use electronic booking machines. Formerly as part of the booking process, local arrestees’ fingerprints were taken and checked for criminal history information against the DOJ biometric system maintained by the FBI. Under Secure Communities’ processing, that fingerprint information will now be simultaneously checked against both the FBI criminal history records and the biometrics-based immigration records maintained by the DHS.

If there is a match with fingerprints in DHS’s biometric system, the new automated process notifies ICE, enabling the agency to take appropriate action to ensure dangerous criminal aliens are held until ICE can transfer them into ICE’s custody. The agency gives top priority to foreign nationals who pose the greatest threat to public safety, such as those with prior convictions for major drug offenses, murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping.

“Secure Communities provides local law enforcement with an effective tool to identify dangerous criminal aliens,” said Acting Secure Communities Executive Director Marc Rapp. “Enhancing public safety is at the core of the ICE’s mission. Our goal with Secure Communities is to use information sharing to prevent criminal aliens from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our law enforcement partners.”

Sacramento and Solano counties join five other California counties participating in the Secure Communities program.

Since October 2008 when the program began, Secure Communities has identified more than 11,000 foreign nationals charged or convicted with Level 1 crimes, such as murder, rape and kidnapping.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit