Fingerprints Shared with ICE Draws Criticism

The federal government’s program that requires the FBI to share fingerprints of all arrested individuals to US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has drawn criticism from groups that claim the system violates civil rights. With the fingerprints, ICE will check the immigration status of everyone taken into custody.

Before this program, local police simply sent fingerprints to the FBI for background checks and American citizenship was not verified.

Many states, like New York, announced that they would opt out of the Secure Communities program, according to the New York Daily News, but a decree from Washington has disregarded those wishes. ICE director John Morton recently notified governors around the country that their signed agreements from the past were without merit. Previously, ICE sought permission and cooperation from local officials, but it appears the program is now deemed mandatory.

“Everyone is still in shock that the federal government is ignoring the wishes of New York,” Udi Ofer, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the publication.

According to USA Today, civil rights groups are currently considering filing a lawsuit to block Secure Communities from being required nationwide. The program has been active since 2008 as local governments chose to participate, but it is expected to be put in place across the country by 2013.