The Department of Homeland Security said today that its Secure Communities program is now in use at all 25 border counties. The jail screening program links local government computers with two federal databases on criminal records and “immigration encounters” with Homeland Security.

The program's been spreading fast around the country this year, and nearly three-fourths of Texas counties are now using it, said a Dallas spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement today. ICE is an agency within the sprawling Homeland Security Department. Dallas County, Farmers Branch and Irving are a few of the many jurisdictions in this region using the program.

Today, three groups suing the federal government for more disclosure on how the program works said many of those picked up under the program don't have criminal records. As for those who have committed civil offenses under the federal Immigration and Naturalization Act, one attorney said usage of the program by local law enforcement agencies should be stopped because it poisons community relations for local police in immigrant communities.

Categories: KUSI