United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

Secure Communities
04/06/2010

Clackamas County first in state to benefit from ICE initiative to enhance the identification, removal of criminal aliens

Now the criminal and immigration records of all local arrestees to be checked

Oregon City, Ore. - Law enforcement agencies in Clackamas County Tuesday became the first in Oregon to benefit from a new information-sharing capability that modernizes the process used to accurately identify criminal aliens in the community.

Developed by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS), the information-sharing capability is the cornerstone of Secure Communities, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiative to enhance efforts to identify and remove criminal aliens from the United States.

Prior to the activation of the Secure Communities information-sharing capability, local arrestees' fingerprints were taken and checked for criminal history information against the DOJ biometric system maintained by the FBI. Under the Secure Communities strategy, that fingerprint information will now be simultaneously checked against the biometrics-based immigration records maintained by DHS.

If any fingerprints match those of someone in DHS's biometric system, the new automated process notifies ICE, enabling the agency to take appropriate action to ensure criminal aliens are not released back into communities. Top priority is given to individuals who pose a threat to public safety, such as those with prior convictions for major drug offenses, murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping.

"Secure Communities provides local law enforcement with an effective tool to identify criminal aliens," said Secure Communities Executive Director David Venturella. "Enhancing public safety is at the core of ICE's mission. Our goal with Secure Communities is to use biometric information sharing to prevent criminal aliens from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our law enforcement partners."

"The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office continues to work closely with ICE in an effort to identify criminal aliens booked into our jail," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. "The installation of this new technology in our jail - the first in the state - will enable us to identify criminal aliens in a more timely fashion without added staffing or funding. This newly acquired technology will further enhance our ability to operate as efficiently as possible during this challenging economic time."

Across the country, Secure Communities is now being used in 145 jurisdictions in 18 states. By 2013, ICE expects to make Secure Communities available nationwide.

Since its inception in October 2008, Secure Communities has identified more than 18,800 aliens charged with or convicted of Level 1 crimes, such as murder, rape and kidnapping - more than 4,000 of those individuals have already been removed from the United States. Most of the criminal aliens who have been identified but not yet removed are completing their sentences. Additionally, ICE has removed more than 25,000 aliens charged with or convicted of Level 2 and 3 crimes, including burglary and serious property crimes, which account for 90 percent of the crimes committed by aliens.

Secure Communities is part of DHS's comprehensive plan to distribute technology that links local law enforcement agencies to both FBI and DHS biometric systems. DHS's US VISIT Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) holds biometrics-based immigration records, while the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) contains biometrics-based criminal records.

"US VISIT is proud to support ICE, helping provide decision makers with comprehensive, reliable information when and where they need it," said US VISIT Director Robert Mocny. "By enhancing the interoperability of DHS's and the FBI's biometric systems, we are able to give federal, state and local decision makers information that helps them better protect our communities and our nation."

"Under this plan, ICE will be utilizing FBI system enhancements that allow improved information sharing at the state and local law enforcement level based on positive identification of incarcerated criminal aliens," said Daniel D. Roberts, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division. "Additionally, ICE and the FBI are working together to take advantage of the strong relationships already forged between the FBI and state and local law enforcement necessary to assist ICE in achieving its goals."

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.