They’er comming to take you spiks away

BOISE — The Ada and Canyon County sheriff’s offices will soon join a federal effort to crack down on criminal illegal aliens.

As it stands now, everyone who is booked into the jails is fingerprinted.  Those prints are then sent to the state and FBI for processing.

In just a couple weeks, the prints will begin going to ICE — the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE agents are at the Ada County Jail almost daily speaking with inmates who have a questionable immigration status.

“If we’re able to take a suspected criminal alien off the streets immediately instead of them going back out to the community to possibly commit more crime, that’s how it really makes it a safer community for all of us,” said Chief Deputy Ron Freeman of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

Right now, ICE agents scroll the sheriff’s website for inmates on their watch list.

Soon, the same fingerprints that Ada County already gets from inmates, will automatically link up to the ICE database.  Agents could be tipped off right away.

“If there’s someone that ICE is looking for we will immediately know that, where right now there is a delay and often times that delay meant those people would be getting out of jail before that information would be received by ICE,” said Freeman.

Last year, ICE took more than 100 inmates from the Ada County Jail into their custody.  The sheriff’s office predicts once the new system goes online in a couple of weeks; that number will be even higher.

“We had over 20,000 bookings last year. That’s a lot of people. Not only locals but people from outside our area are brought into our jail,” said Freeman.

Fewer of those inmates could free up bed space in the local jails and save taxpayers money.  It costs taxpayers an estimated $60 a day to house one inmate.

“If someone does not need to be in this community because they’re a foreign national illegally in this area, when ICE takes them back they’re not in our community to possibly commit crimes. It adds to the safety of this community,” said Freeman.

The sheriff’s office says 20 other states are linked up with the ICE database, and Ada and Canyon Counties are the first in Idaho to participate.

ICE plans to spend more than $1 billion this year on criminal alien enforcement efforts.


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