Local News

Wake deputies get access to immigration records

Posted November 12, 2008

— The Wake County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday was given full access to a database that will help deputies tell whether a person booked for a crime is an illegal immigrant.

The process, which uses an individual’s fingerprints, automatically checks the criminal and immigration history of all individuals booked, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Under the current system, fingerprints have been checked against the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System to obtain information about a person’s criminal history. The new technology will simultaneously check the Automated Biometric Identification System, which contains immigration records, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in announcing the system was available to Wake deputies.

If a person’s fingerprints match those of a non-U.S. citizen, the information will automatically be sent to ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center, where staff will then evaluate the case and take action, if needed, officials said.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he looks forward to using the technology at the Wake County Detention Center, which processes 35,000 people each year.

“If there were some slipping through the cracks, we're hoping now that we'll be able to pick those people up. We don't know that there were, but now we have this equipment in place now that we can tell pretty quickly if they are lying to us,” Harrison said.

Wake County is the first of four law enforcement agencies in the state to receive the capability. The Gaston, Buncombe and Henderson county sheriffs’ offices will begin receiving the full technology next week.

The four counties were part of seven sites nationwide that participated in a pilot version of the database. During the pilot program the sites received limited immigration histories.

If the program is introduced nationwide officials said it would cost about $3 billion annually and result in the deportation of 700,000 people a year.

Advocates for the Latino community are concerned about the program.

“If you're not Latino chances are you're not going to get brought into a police station. Whereas if you are Latino chances are you will be brought in. So it's not the same, not everybody is really getting checked. It's really a discriminatory system, if you will,” said Tony Asion, director of advocacy group El Pueblo.


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  • XARABELLE Nov 13, 2008

    FYI to all out there...the WCSO will not be able to run these finger prints at a traffic stop, this system will be used for those who have been arrested.

  • XARABELLE Nov 13, 2008

    What a wonderful asset! The last thing our economy needs is illegals draining our resources even further by sitting in jail. Get 'em out of here, especially if their going to break our laws! That guy from El Pueblo needs to go back to where ever it is he came from....he should be encouraging immigrants to do things legally, not defedning these leeches who never have any intention of becoming citizens.

  • ncchrisncchris Nov 13, 2008

    maybe it's time to allow social service agencies to report illegal statuses...can't do it now, you know...confidentiality laws would prohibit it. The worker would be fired.

  • joyleng Nov 12, 2008

    The police will now be stopping Hispanic in wake county just to see if they are illegal. I think the program is a good ideal as long as the police don't get power hungry with it.

  • billy Nov 12, 2008

    Illegals are stealing jobs, i.d.'s, and committing other crimes.
    They are criminals just by being here illegally.
    If you know of illegals, call ICE or the local police.
    Call/email/write your government representatives at all levels and TELL them you want the illegals out and the borders secure.
    If YOU don't speak up nothing will happen.
    NO amnesty for illegals.

  • whatusay Nov 12, 2008

    You people seem to believe this program will screen all illegal immigrants. Not so, it will allow law enforcement to screen only law breakers. 99% of illegals will never be checked. But, they will still be taking our jobs, and being supported by welfare, and free health care, and free education, sucking the life out of US citizens.

  • Just the facts mam Nov 12, 2008

    Need to have this program throughout the United States.

  • wrx44 Nov 12, 2008

    Tony Asion wouldn't know discrimination if he married it...

    It's about legal and illegal Tony...ANYONE who can't prove their legal will get checked.

    If you are legal, nothing to worry about. Common sense does not work with Latino advocates cause the reality is that they don't want our immigration laws enforced. Simple as that...but they won't say it directly. They just keep throwing out hot button terms such as "discrimination" etc....Unbelievable.

  • bngexpress Nov 12, 2008

    way to go,maybe a little late,but still it is a good step ,now if we could only get this system for johnston co the criminal immigration problem is becoming noticibly worse by the day,given the current economic crisis that we are all in the last thing we need is more strain on our social service systems

  • whatusay Nov 12, 2008

    This does nothing to address the 20,000,000 illegals in this country. All of them should be deported, not just the criminals. We are in a recession and Americans need jobs. The government (tax payers) can not support Americans on welfare and the illegals.