ICE and local police starting to communicate about criminal aliens

Ordinarily, Nelson Portillo-Lozano would have been free to leave the Fairfax County jail when he posted bail March 19 after being charged with assault. Because of a new effort to find illegal immigrants in jails, Portillo-Lozano, 22, went into custody of U.S. immigration authorities.

He got caught by a program that for the first time checks the fingerprints of people held by local authorities against federal immigration databases. Forty-eight communities have joined since October, mostly in areas with large illegal-immigrant populations…

The program, called Secure Communities, comes in response to lawmakers urging ICE to deport more illegal immigrants incarcerated for serious crimes.

The number of deported criminals rose 60% from 2002 to 2008. Over the same period, the total number of illegal immigrants deported rose 400%. Critics say that trend suggests ICE is too focused on illegal immigrants in communities and at worksites rather than those serving prison terms…

Janet Napolitano, the new Homeland Security secretary, says she wants to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes.

Secure Communities will play a vital role, program chief David Venturella said. “When the secretary talked about making criminal aliens a priority, she really emphasized the ability to share information with local law enforcement,” Venturella said…

Speaking as a geek who’s been online since 1983, I find excuses about communications and shared databases laughable. Criminally absurd.

I signed online for the first time in the spring of 1983 to access an inventory and import database for the firm I’d just started representing. It was a bloody sales tool. Here we are twenty-six years later and the heroic forces of American law and order are just figuring out this may be useful.

No doubt our 2-party ideologues represent a significant part of the problem – and little or no part of the solution. No excuse.

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