ICE’s Secure Communities activated in Wash.



SEATTLE (AP) — A federal program that uses fingerprint analysis to identify illegal immigrants in county jails has been activated for Washington state.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Andre Munoz says the program went live on Tuesday.

Last year the program had faced opposition from governors in a few of states, but after some tweaks, Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the program would be mandatory nationwide by 2013.

Immigrant right groups say Secure Communities can discourage immigrants from reporting crimes and can lead to the deportation of people who haven’t been convicted of anything.

All counties in the state send fingerprints of people booked in county jail to the FBI. Under Secure Communities, the FBI shares those fingerprints with ICE. People who come up as flagged for immigration violations are then held in the jail until ICE officers arrive.