Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator announced today that his department is partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to share information that will help identify aliens booked into the parish jail.
Biometric information sharing is part of Secure Communities, a comprehensive ICE strategy to improve the identification and removal of convicted aliens from the United States. The system helps identify aliens both lawfully and unlawfully present in the United States when they are taken into local custody for a crime.
Previously, biometrics, or fingerprints, taken of individuals booked at the Caddo Correctional Center were only checked for criminal history information through the federal Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and state AFIS. Now, fingerprints submitted by the Sheriff's Office to the FBI will also be checked against immigration records in the Department of Homeland Security’s Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).
If fingerprints match those of someone in the DHS system, ICE is automatically alerted to the arrest. ICE then evaluates each case to determine the individual’s immigration status and takes appropriate enforcement action, with priority placed on the most serious crimes such as convictions for major drug offenses, murder, rape and kidnapping.
ICE instituted the Secure Community Initiative in Caddo and St. Tammany parishes on Tuesday. Five other Louisiana jurisdictions, all in south Louisiana, already participate. Currently, 792 jurisdictions in 34 states use biometric information sharing. ICE hopes to respond nationwide to all fingerprint matches generated through IDENT/IAFIS interoperability by 2013.
Sheriff Prator said he welcomes any new opportunity that will better protect the citizens of Caddo Parish. "The Caddo Sheriff's Office is honored to be the first law enforcement agency selected in our area to participate in this initiative and take advantage of the ICE database. This is another example of local and federal agencies working together successfully to keep our communities safe,” he said.
David Venturella, Secure Communities Assistant Director, added, “The Secure Communities strategy provides ICE with an effective tool to identify criminal aliens in local custody. Enhancing public safety is at the core of ICE’s mission. Our goal is to use biometric information sharing to remove criminal aliens, preventing them from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our law enforcement partners.”
Since ICE began using this enhanced information sharing capability in October 2008, immigration officers have removed from the United States more than 50,600 aliens convicted of crimes.
For more information about how ICE is using biometrics to identify aliens convicted of a crime, visit www.ice.gov/secure_communities.
From Caddo Sheriff's Department