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Fingerprinting Effort Nets 65,000 Immigration Arrests Statewide

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(credit: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

(credit: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A program designed to cross-check the immigration status of every person arrested in California with a U.S. database is now in place in every county.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that the last six counties were hooked up to the so-called Secure Communities program this week.

Through January, the agency had arrested 65,000 people in California who were identified through the program.

Immigration officials say more than 70 percent of them had a criminal conviction.

The program began in California in 2009 and is currently being rolled out across the nation.

Under the program, arrestees’ fingerprints are checked against Department of Homeland Security records and immigration officials are notified when there is a hit.

The program has faced ardent criticism from immigrant advocates who say involving local police in immigration enforcement discourages illegal immigrants from reporting crimes.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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