Arlington, VA

Arlington’s effort to withdraw from the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program has hit a big snag. Turns out withdrawing is harder than the county board originally thought.

The program checks the immigration status of individuals arrested by local police agencies by using fingerprints submitted to the FBI. If an offender is a known illegal immigrant, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement asks the local agency to hold the prisoner until immigration officers can take appropriate action.

The Washington Post reports that since local police need to check prisoners’ wanted status via the FBI database, withholding fingerprints from the Feds is not feasible.

“It is most frustrating,” said county board member Walter Tejada, upon learning of the revelation from a Washington Post reporter. Tejada, who championed the resolution that instructed the county manager to take steps to withdraw from Secure Communities, said lawyers and officials spent the summer researching how to opt out of the program.

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