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Jan 5, 2010 1:34 PM

Central Coast counties begin ICE screening program

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Two more California counties have hooked up to a Homeland Security database that screens the immigration status of arrestees. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties started using the program Tuesday.

Under the program, ICE says arrestees' fingerprints will be checked against a Homeland Security database. The agency will be notified if someone has an immigration history. ICE says it will focus on arrestees who have prior convictions for violent crimes and major drug offenses. The program, which is known as Secure Communities, has already been implemented in four other California counties. ICE says it plans to roll out the program nationwide by 2013.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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