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Texas Expands Immigration Program

Lawmakers in Texas have expanded the Secure Communities program across the entire state, representing a prelude to the program’s eventual expansion nationwide. Secure Communities is a federal program under which prisoners’ fingerprints are automatically forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security in order to determine whether any of these prisoners are also illegal immigrants.

The program has been expanded throughout Texas over the past two weeks, making it the first state to fully incorporate the program. The Secure Communities program is expected to be implemented in every U.S. county by 2013.

The Secure Communities program appears to address one of the most pervasive criticisms regarding U.S. immigration policy: that immigration enforcement suffers due to a lack of coordination between immigration officials and law enforcement personnel. According to immigration officials, the program is aimed at discovering and deporting illegal immigrants with a history of serious criminal acts.

At the same time, opponents of the deportation program contend that it unfairly targets many immigrants who do not have a serious criminal record. Some critics also point to this program as an example of misguided tax dollars at work. Unlike Arizona’s contentious new immigration law, however, the Secure Communities program appears relatively immune to many of these arguments, as the program does not require law enforcements officials to take on any extra responsibilities or tasks in order to comply.

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