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Barrow gains ability to ID illegals in jail

WINDER — Barrow has become the ninth county in Georgia to obtain the ability to identify illegal immigrants booked into its jail.

The process uses the fingerprints of a person accused of a crime to determine if the offender is here illegally, according to a news release. The program works in conjunction with the Georgia Crime Information Center to alert the arresting agency of immigration status problems with an arrestee.

Once an offender has been identified as an illegal immigrant, U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement will take custody of the person within 48 hours, and the arrestee will be deported to his or her nation of origin.

“This program utilizes tools that are already available to our agency, and there is no cost to the taxpayers of Barrow County,” Barrow Sheriff Jud Smith said. “It is the position of the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office that illegal immigration itself is a crime, and we believe this program is another great example of local law enforcement taking advantage of federal resources currently available to us.”

By 2013, all counties in Georgia will be using this technology, the news release states.

The Barrow County Sheriff’s Office has worked with ICE for nearly two years to implement the program.