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Immigrant Fingerprint Program Now In Western Md.

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BALTIMORE (AP) –A program that works to identify illegal immigrants in prisons and jails is expanding to western Maryland.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Tuesday that it has launched the Secure Communities program in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties.

Under the program, federal officials run fingerprints of people booked into prisons and jails against federal immigration databases to determine whether they’re in the country illegally.

Secure Communities is now used in almost every jurisdiction in Maryland and in 41 states. ICE says it has resulted in the removal of more than 72,000 criminal aliens since it was launched in 2008.

But critics of the program say it can lead to racial profiling and will make illegal immigrants reluctant to cooperate with authorities. Some jurisdictions around the country have opposed it.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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