Investigators found no evidence that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials intentionally misled Congress or state and local officials about the controversial program that gives federal immigration authorities access to fingerprints of prisoners in local jails, according to two reports released Friday.
The program, called Secure Communities, began with considerable fanfare in 2008 as a way to find violent criminals who should be deported. Local and state agencies signed agreements with ICE to participate in the program. When deportations soared as a result of ICE finding minor violations, some agencies sought to back out of the agreements, but were told by ICE that they could not.
A report by the acting inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, said initial “confusion” inside ICE about whether local approval was needed to join the federal effort resulted in a “lack of clarity” in explaining it to state and local officials.