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Immigration Background Checks Begin in LA Prisons

La Opinin, Carlos Aviles Posted: Aug 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- A controversial program to do background checks on anyone who enters the prison system began Thursday, Aug. 27 in Los Angeles county, reports La Opinin. Despite a lack of resources to deport undocumented immigrants who are identified, more than 40 agencies started checking immigration status when detained prisoners gave their fingerprints. If a match is found, the prisoner is referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Robert Naranjo, assistant director for ICE's L.A. office, says they will focus on offenders with more violent crimes, such as drug sales, homicides, robbery, rape and kidnapping. Immigrant human rights groups are concerned about possible violations of the detainees' constitutional and civil rights, claiming inmates could be "punished" with deportation before seeing a judge. In fiscal year 2008, ICE identified more than 221,000 undocumented prisoners for potential deportation.

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