As of Thursday, December 8, 2011
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ATLANTA (AP) — All 159 Georgia counties will now share fingerprint information with federal immigration authorities to help identify people who are in the country illegally and have committed crimes.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Homeland Security Department, on Tuesday added 116 counties to the Secure Communities program. According to ICE's website says the initiative is now in effect in 1,882 jurisdictions in 44 states.
ICE plans to have every jurisdiction nationwide enrolled by 2013.
The program allows arrestee fingerprint information to be checked against FBI criminal history records and biometrics-based immigration records kept by Homeland Security.
Previously, fingerprints were just checked against the Department of Justice biometric system kept by the FBI.
Critics say the program discourages immigrants from reporting crimes. Several states have said they won't participate.