Upper Manhattan Pols Praise Halt to Fingerprint Sharing Program
By Carla Zanoni
UPPER MANHATTAN — Upper Manhattan elected officials are applauding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s move Wednesday to put a temporary halt to the state’s participation in a federal fingerprint sharing program after months of outcry from critics who said the practice is unfair to immigrants.
Critics decried the state’s decision last May to begin participating in Secure Communities, a federal program where police share fingerprints of those arrested in the state with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
The federal agency could use the data to check the immigration status of those arrested and begin deportation proceedings if they are found to be in the country without documentation.
ICE officials say the program is designed to protect U.S. residents from serious criminal offenders, but immigration advocates said the practice did not distinguish between undocumented immigrants who are dangerous criminals and those with misdemeanor convictions who pose no threat to national security.