October 11, 2010
The director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says localities can't opt out of a federal program to identify illegal immigrants using fingerprints from arrests.
ICE Director John Morton said Friday that the agency's agreement for the Secure Communities program is with the state, not the individual localities.
Under the program, immigration officials access fingerprints that are sent to a federal criminal database to see if a suspect is in the country illegally.
In Virginia, Arlington County officials voted last month to opt out of the program. Officials in Santa Clara County, Calif., have done the same. Several communities across the nation are debating whether they want to participate.