Thursday, June 16, 2005

200 illegals arrested in New England

Well, it's progress.

::::::::BOSTON - Nearly 200 illegal immigrants who were ordered deported for committing crimes were arrested during a six-day undercover sweep across New England (search), federal authorities said.

Dozens of federal, state and local law-enforcement officers began a search Friday for the roughly 200 people targeted in the sweep; by Wednesday afternoon, they had arrested at least 187 illegal immigrants.

Authorities planned a Thursday news conference to discuss the operation, believed to be the largest of its kind staged by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (search) regional field office, said Bruce Chadbourne, ICE's New England field director.

This is not bad and I'm glad to see there's action being taken. Now, these people need to be shown the door, permanently, and every identifying measure taken of them. Fingerprints, retina scan, facial thermograph, dental records - you name it. If they try to come back in again, we need to be able to ID them and stop them at the border. Of course, there's more to this story that suggests further actions:

::::::::Those arrested had served time in prison or jail for a wide range of crimes, including attempted murder, rape, child molestation and arson, authorities said.

Many illegal immigrants aren't immediately deported after serving time because local officials fail to notify federal authorities of the convicts' release.

"Some of them have gone through the criminal justice process, and we were not even aware of it," Chadbourne said. "(State prison officials) are not experts in immigration law. That's where we come in."

There's only way to interpret this: local law enforcement does not have the communication abilities to keep ICE updated and ICE isn't providing the data they have down to local law enforcement. Bad communication. It really is that simple. Had the locals been able to key a database and find out that the perp they just arrested for rape, arson, or child molestation was an illegal, they would be aware of the need to talk to ICE when that person is released. Better still, they could simply update that database with the arrest and (potential) release information and keep ICE updated in real time. These systems do work when they're designed properly. I build systems just like this and they can be both secure and robust.

This is a good start and it suggests positive enhancements that could be made. Hopefully, someone at ICE is thinking the same thing.