U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced the success and further expansion of ICE’s Secure Communities strategy to south Texas. Secure Communities utilizes a biometric information-sharing capability to enable ICE to better identify aliens at the time they are fingerprinted and booked on criminal charges.

Secure Communities, which was launched in Laredo (Webb County) last June, has led to the removal of more than 20,000 convicted criminal aliens from the country. Additionally, the biometric information-sharing capability is being expanded to 12 additional south Texas counties on Tuesday.

“I applaud the efforts of ICE in working closely with our local law enforcement communities and for expanding this program into rural Texas,” said Rep. Cuellar.

“Criminal elements are everywhere, and one of our duties is to ensure that our residents feel protected. This program makes sure that once a criminal’s immigration status has been determined, appropriate action is taken after offenders complete their prison term.”

Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism.

On June 16, 2009, Webb County launched ICE’s Secure Communities program. To date, the following 17 central and south Texas counties have implemented the program: Bell, Bexar, Dimmitt, Hidalgo, Kinney, Maverick, McLennan, Real, Starr, Travis, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy, Williamson, Zapata and Zavala. The newest 12 counties in south Texas include: Bandera, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Kendall, La Salle, Medina and Wilson. ICE expects nationwide coverage for all law enforcement agencies by the end of 2013.

Source: Border Fire Report

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