Sheriff’s offices in the South Texas counties of Hidalgo, Starr, Brooks, Jim Wells, and Kenedy have begun accessing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fingerprint databases to determine if arrested individuals are immigration offenders who may face removal.   Once each individual’s criminal process is completed, he or she will be taken into ICE custody. Secure Communities was launched in October 2008, and is currently in place in San Diego, California; Mesa, Arizona; Fairfax, Virginia; and Dallas, San Antonio, and Huntsville, Texas. All U.S. counties are expected to implement the system by 2012.   ICE asserts that the Secure Communities initiative will allow law enforcement officials to streamline a “time-consuming and spotty system of Border Patrol interviews in jails.”  

More information may be found by visiting: www.ice.gov.