For cities and counties, “Secure Communities” gets mixed reactions

By Sarah Ostman

“Secure Communities” –  sounds like a program we should all want in our hometowns, right?

Not exactly. The federal program — which automatically checks the immigration status of people arrested in local jurisdictions by sharing their fingerprints with federal immigration officials — is creating quite the stir this week.

Some cities are deciding they don’t want any part of the crackdown. Leaders of Santa Clara County in California and Arlington County in Virginia voted Tuesday to just say no to the optional program. (They might have opted out sooner, but the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees “Secure Communities,” just released its instructions on how to opt out.)

Meanwhile — about 1,000 miles and a million light-years away — Texas is all fired up and ready to go, with each of its 254 counties on board with the program.

“Secure Communities” is still in the early phases; the Department of Homeland Security plans to go nationwide with the program by 2013.  So stay tuned — we’ve got lots of good headbutting to look forward to in this “federal v. local” immigration showdown.

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