It’s called “Secure Communities” and has been in place in Harris County since October of 2008. Now, law enforcement
in all 254 counties in Texas have access to both FBI criminal history records and fingerprint-based immigration
records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. Kenneth Landgrebe is the Houston Field Office Director
for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He says now when a person is arrested anywhere in Texas, ICE will be
notified if that person is a criminal illegal immigrant.
“We’ll get a match electronically on it and then we’ll run those records. It may be that individual is now a US citizen and we’re able to determine that. Maybe he was previously an alien but he naturalized and became a citizen. So it allows us to vet those cases that would not be subject to deportation.”
Texas is the first state to have the system in place statewide.
“We want to identify, arrest and remove aliens who have committed crimes and are a danger to our community.
So that’s our ultimate goal and the secondary goal is to share the information with local law enforcement so that they know who they’re dealing with.”
Since the program went into place in 2008, ICE says more than 3200 illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes
have been deported.