Wednesday, July 21, 2010
In spite of all the brouhaha over the Arizona Immigration Reform Bill targeting illegals - and the flood of ugly protests in its wake - a Federal database that uses fingerprints to feret out legal status and criminal history was given the green light.
The U.S. Department of Immigration "tool" sifts through data to identify high-risk illegal immigrants who may have been convicted of serious crimes such as rape, kidnapping, and drug trafficking (for starters).
The high-tech program - aptly titled "Secure Communities" (sounds like a sequel to the TV MOW "Stepford Wives" doesn't it?) was pressed into service in Washoe County with little fanfare this past week.
How did the Latino Eagle-eye miss that one?
For now, the Nevada community is the first to facilitate the resource, with Clark County stepping up-to-the-bat by 2013.
Normally, in the past - when a suspect was apprehended and charged - their fingerprints would automatically be sent to the FBI where sophisticated network computers would match their criminal records and those held at the Department of Homeland Security.
The program differs from Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act - in that - fingerprints of every suspect will be checked and not just those that were manually inputted based on red flags generated subjectively by law enforcement officers (such as potentially damaging comments made by a suspect in the throes of arrest) according to an ICE spokesperson.
Essentially, the intelligent Secure Communities software will work in tandem with - and bolster - Section 287(g).
Some critics have been quite vocal about the potential dangers.
According to legal scholars, fingerprint databases that probe too far, have the ability to run afoul of an individual's Fourth Amendment Rights - and subsequently - equal protection under the law.
If it is any consolation, supporters of the spanking-new information gatherer, argue strenuously that the ambitious program isn't subject to racial profiling or immigration status.
Why mention it, then?