Immigration Program Activated in Wash. Jails

Apr 3, 2012

A controversial federal immigration program is now in effect across all of Washington State, as of today . The statewide rollout came earlier than some anticipated.

The Secure Communities program comes into play when someone is booked into a local jail. Once they’re fingerprinted, the program automatically shares those prints with immigration agents. So, if someone is in the country illegally, immigration can ask the jail to keep that person in custody.

Until this week, only six counties in the eastern part of Washington had activated Secure Communities. Now, all counties are online. That’s ahead of the schedule some local jails had expected. Still, jail officials we’ve contacted say the program adds no extra cost or workload.

Immigration officials have clarified the program is mandatory. That came after a few other states tried to block its implementation last year.

Some immigration advocates also oppose Secure Communities. They say it ends up deporting too many people for minor offenses, like driving without a license.

This federal program is slated to roll out across the county by the end of next year.

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Copyright 2012 KUOW