Partnership cracks down on illegal immigrants

By Tracy Clemons – bio|e-mail

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- Starting this week, Caddo Parish law enforcement began sharing fingerprints with the Department of Homeland Security. It's an effort to help identify immigrants---both legal and illegal---booked into the parish jails.

Until now, fingerprints taken in Caddo went through two systems that only checked for criminal history. Now, they'll also go to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

"It'll check against the known records in those, such as illegal immigrants, or people who have previously been deported, fugitives out of other countries," says Lt. Owen McDonnell of the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.

He says it's part of an ongoing attempt to try to identify and remove criminal immigrants from the country-"This will streamline the procedure, and provide a quicker flow of information. Immigration will still make the determination based upon someone identified through the system."

Lt. McDonnell says this new tool doesn't target any one group, but will be used to track everyone arrested in Caddo Parish.

"It's impossible to utilize profiling in it because every arrestee is run through this system---not just one segment of the population," he says.

He tells KSLA News 12 that this is a fair way to protect the citizens of Caddo.

"It'll help the community. If there are criminal aliens present that are committing crimes, this will expedite their removal and repatriation to their original country."

In an emailed statement to KSLA News 12, Shreveport's American Civil Liberties Union says:

"Despite the program's professed goal of targeting 'the most dangerous criminal aliens' for removal, a very large percentage of the individuals identified and deported under S-Comm (Secure Communities) have been minor offenders and people with no criminal charges or convictions."

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