Immigration fingerprint program now in Colorado

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A rapidly expanding federal program that identifies illegal immigrants when they’re arrested and fingerprinted is now operational in Denver and in El Paso and Arapahoe counties.

Colorado Department of Public Safety spokesman Lance Clem says Secure Communities was launched Tuesday in the three jurisdictions. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which operates the program, said last week Secure Communities is active in more than 1,000 jurisdictions in 38 states.

Secure Communities was launched in 2007. ICE says it hopes to have it in every jail in the country by 2013.

The program checks arrestee’s fingerprints against federal databases to determine the person’s legal status and arrest record.

Critics argue it creates an incentive for racial profiling. Denver Mayor Bill Vidal calls it “worrisome” and says it should be monitored closely.