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Secure Communities Launches In D.C., Despite Protests

The federal government's "Secure Communities" immigration enforcement program takes affect in the District today, mandating that information on anyone arrested in D.C., including fingerprints be placed in an FBI database, can be accessed by immigration and customs officials.

ICE investigators searching for undocumented immigrants, especially those who have engaged in violent criminal activity, or anything that may pose a threat to national security, will be able to access D.C. arrest reports through these FBI records.

But many immigrant advocates say this measure leads to racial and ethnic profiling and breeds distrust of the police among immigrant communities. 

Last October, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray issued an executive order prohibiting District public safety officials from detaining individuals on the basis of their immigration statuses. It also bars District agencies from making incarcerated individuals under their supervision available for federal immigration interviews without a court order. 

Yesterday, Gray held a press conference to discuss his concerns about the program, and tweeted afterwards that he is "very disappointed" that the federal government decided to implement Secure Communities against the District's wishes. 

He is meeting with D.C. Council members and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) to discuss "next steps," the mayor added. 

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