Secure Communities Program Continues Efforts in Fairfax County
March 17, 2010
In March 2009, the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office received access to the Secure Communities Program administered by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Since that time, ICE has identified over 1,200 aliens charged with or convicted of crimes. ICE has already removed 144 of these individuals, while the remaining are in immigration proceedings or will be removed from the United States once they serve their criminal sentence. The Sheriff's Office was the first law enforcement agency in Virginia and the Washington metropolitan area to partner with ICE through this program.
"The Secure Communities program has been a great success," said Sheriff Stan Barry. "ICE has been able to identify illegal aliens that committed serious crimes in Fairfax County and presented a threat to our community. Through this program, ICE was able to deport them at no cost to Fairfax County."
Under the program, ICE agents check available criminal and immigration records of every individual booked by Sheriff's deputies. As part of the Secure Communities strategy, ICE deployed new technology, which enables fingerprints submitted during the booking process to be checked automatically against the Department of Justice criminal history records and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records, including immigration status. When fingerprints match DHS records, ICE is automatically notified and promptly determines if enforcement action is required. This process applies to all individuals arrested and booked into the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
Secure Communities enhances the ongoing partnership by ICE and the Sheriff's Office. The capabilities and deployment of this program is a critical tool for better identifying and removing criminal aliens.