As expected, Governor Bill Ritter has signed the Secure Communities program into law, which requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of detained individuals using fingerprints that are entered into a database maintained by federal agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While anti-immigration activists hail the program as an effective deportation tool, immigrants-rights advocates worry it will net innocent people and keep immigrants from reporting crimes in their own communities, which tend to be particularly vulnerable. But there's a caveat: Colorado counties can opt out of participating in Secure Communities.
While The Denver Post reports that many local sheriffs are on board, The Pueblo Chieftain notes that Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor isn't sold on the idea. "If it's coming down to another unfunded mandate by the feds, the sheriffs are going to have a problem with it," Taylor said prior to yesterday's annual conference of the County Sheriffs of Colorado. Officials in Weld County say the new program won't change much for them, since they've already been sending fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for immigration status checks, writes The Greeley Tribune.