Opinion

Commentary: Technology is helping deport illegal immigrants with criminal records

Even those who oppose the more extreme anti-immigrant measures being proposed by some are likely to find it hard to argue that illegal immigrants in this country who land in jail ought to be deported.

That is what the York County Sheriff's Office is doing, and the system appears to be extremely effective. Since 2007, the sheriff's office has deported 1,037 illegal aliens who were suspected of committing a crime in the county.

Those suspects have been sent to 22 different nations, including Russia, Greece, Jamaica, Mexico and Guatemala, according to Sheriff Bruce Bryant.

Everyone brought to the Moss Justice Center in York is asked three questions before being fingerprinted: What country are you a citizen of? Where were you born? Are you in the United States legally?

When the program was initiated in 2007, the status of those arrested was checked through the Department of Justice's database in partnership with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Beginning this month, however, fingerprint biometric records also are checked against the more comprehensive records of the Department of Homeland Security, including information submitted by the FBI.

This program -- called 287-G -- checks both the Homeland Security database and the Department of Justice's records, offering photos and records of alias names for suspects. Once it is determined that a suspect is here illegally, the deportation process begins.

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