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Criminal aliens getting more ICE attention

Criminal aliens getting more ICE attention
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks during a press conference on an update on the H1N1 flu outbreak and the U.S. Government response, at FEMA Headquarters in Washington on May 4, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Calls for U.S. immigration officials to concentrate on deporting more illegal aliens who have serious criminal records are showing results, police say.

A new program at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency -- called Secure Communities -- is netting aliens for deportation when they are arrested for crimes by police in 48 communities, USA Today reported Tuesday.

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The program was established in response to criticism of ICE during the Bush administration. Observers said the agency concentrated too much on mass deportations of immigrant workers picked up during raids on work places instead of targeting violent illegal aliens who commit crimes, the newspaper said.

In Fairfax County, Va., has seen deportation orders from ICE on 200 of the jail's 1,300 inmates since the program began in March, Capt. Glenda Pfister of the county sheriff's office told USA Today.

"When we have aliens who are serious criminals, they get removed from the county instead of being released to the street," Pfister said.

Secure Communities chief David Venturella told the newspaper Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is "making criminal aliens a priority," doing so by sharing information with local police on illegal immigrants.

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