Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Program Checks Inmates Legal Residency Status, ICE Record (KVEW-WA)

New Program Checks Inmates Legal Residency Status, ICE Record

By Ian Cull.
Published Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

When an inmate is booked into the Yakima County Jail, their fingerprints are documented and sent to the Washington State Patrol and F.B.I to check for other warrants against them. Later this month, the Jail will be one of the first jails in the state to also send those fingerprints to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.

The Yakima County Jail Director Ed Campbell, "so it's just another resource for us to tap into, to check those fingerprints."

Campbell says it's important to search an inmates criminal background before the individual is released, including whether or not someone has re-entered the country after being deported. He says inmates that are wanted by ICE will be taken by the agency after they've served the required time for the crime they've committed.

He said, "ICE will come in, they'll do an inquiry, check our database. They may put a hold on that person, maybe a person of interest. It doesn't necessarily mean that person's going to be deported. It doesn't necessarily mean that ICE is going to hold them after the detainer."

An immigration advocacy group is against the program saying it's too vague and may allow local law enforcement to racially profile.

Rogelio Montes said, "by implementing the program, we believe that racial profiling will increase and we wouldn't like to see that in Yakima."

Montes works with the "We Are One America" advocacy group. He says members of the hispanic community worry someone could simply be arrested for a crime they didn't commit, and be deported because of it.

Montes added, "and this program is including everyone, including people who don't even have a criminal record."

Montes thinks the program will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars. Campbell says any costs the county incurs when an inmate stays in a holding cell awaiting transport to an ICE facility, will be reimbursed by the federal government.

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