Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys have learned that Florida is participating in a program called Secure Communities, which is designed to identify and deport criminal immigrants after they serve their prison sentence.
Here’s how the program works: when someone is arrested, booked, and fingerprinted, their information is automatically checked against immigration records. This only applies to those who are convicted of a crime, not those who are merely charged with a crime.
The program began in 2008, and should be nationwide by 2013. Palm Beach County joined in April. Broward and Miami-Dade counties joined in 2009. As of last month, all 67 Florida counties were participating.
While law enforcement has embraced the program, others have criticized it. Immigration activists say the program could violate the suspect’s presumption of innocence. We’ll be interested in seeing how this plays out. So far, more than 1,800 criminal immigrants have been deported through the program.
Source: Police to share fingerprint data with feds to ID criminal immigrants, South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 29, 2010
Our Miami criminal defense lawyers can assist you if you have been charged with a crime such as drug trafficking, assault, or DUI.