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Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Federal/Local Partnership Programs to Secure the Border

July 11, 2012

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, chaired by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), held a hearing entitled “Building a Secure Community: How Can DHS Better Leverage State and Local Partnerships?”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relies upon State, local and tribal entities as part of its layered approach to securing the border. Tomorrow’s hearing will examine Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) cooperative agreements with State and local law enforcement agencies, such as the Secure Communities program, which cross-checks local law enforcement data with immigration data to determine a person’s immigration status. At tomorrow’s hearing, Members will have the opportunity to hear directly from ICE Director John Morton on the successes and challenges of Federal/local border security partnership programs.

Miller said: “For years, our border security has been based on a layered approach that began at the border. However, it is clear that the scale and scope of maintaining operational control of our border requires the Department of Homeland Security to leverage willing state and local partners. In many ways, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are the last line of defense in our layered approach to securing the border. They are responsible for enforcing our Nation’s immigration and customs laws, including detaining and removing aliens who successfully cross the border illegally, or violate the terms of a visa.

“As a Nation, we must be fully committed to enforcing our Nation’s immigration laws, as well as remove criminal aliens and those who pose a public safety threat. Secure Communities, the program where everyone who is fingerprinted has those prints cross-checked against our immigration databases to determine if they are in the country lawfully, has been a key to successfully deporting hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens. This program is on track to be fully implemented nationwide this fall. The purpose of my hearing will be to hear from ICE Director Morton on how ICE is cultivating and leveraging local law enforcement through programs, like Secure Communities, and other efforts they are conducting to curb illegal immigration and effectively securing our borders.”

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