Secure Communities

The highest priority of any law enforcement agency is to protect the communities it serves. When it comes to enforcing our nation's immigration laws, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses its limited resources on those who have been arrested for breaking criminal laws.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators.

Secure Communities, an information sharing partnership between two federal agencies – ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – prioritizes removal resources on individuals who are found to be illegally in the country after being arrested for other crimes.

Secure Communities is a simple and common sense way to carry out ICE's priorities. For decades, local jurisdictions have shared the fingerprints of individuals who are booked into jails with the FBI to see if they have a criminal record. Recently, Congress has mandated that the FBI share this information with ICE. Under Secure Communities, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints to ICE to check against its immigration databases. If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction, ICE takes enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history, and other factors – as well as those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws.

Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement, and the federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate.

Only federal officers make immigration decisions, and they do so only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of state law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.