Wolf demands report on ICE database
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thursday, requesting a prompt report on an apparent shortcoming in the agency's electronic databases, namely the fingerprints of many people deported from this country before 2005.
A report in Thursday's Washington Post detailed the case of Salvador Portillo-Saravia, who was deported to El Salvador in 2003, but returned to Northern Virginia at some point later. In November of last year, he was arrested and taken to the Loudoun County jail, which participates in the federal Secure Communities program. Secure Communities electronically checks the fingerprints of all arrestees against the databases of both the FBI and ICE, and is used by every jail in Virginia, as well as in Prince George's County and some other counties in Maryland.
But when Portillo-Saravia was checked through Secure Communities, Loudoun and ICE officials said, no match was found. He was released. About a month later, he allegedly raped an eight-year-old girl in Centreville, Fairfax County police said, and he remains at large. ICE officials said that before 2005, many deportees were not fingerprinted electronically and so are not in their database.
Wolf, whose district includes Loudoun, sent a letter to John Morton, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security who oversees ICE. "ICE should immediately remind all law enforcement partners," Wolf wrote, "about the current limitations of the Secure Communities database on illegal aliens detained before 2005."
In addition, Wolf asked Morton to "promptly provide a report to the Congress on how the program could be improved and expanded to address pre-2005 detentions. I believe that the program is an important resource for our state and local law enforcement and that ICE should continue to improve the information available to localities."
| January 28, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: Frank R. Wolf
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