WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government has embarked on a reported nationwide effort to get law-breaking illegal aliens off the streets and out of the country.
The ambitious project, handled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is expected to cost as much as $3 billion a year to identify and deport as many as 450,000 illegal immigrants locked up annually, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.
Though connected with only about 10 percent of the nation's 3,100 jails, ICE filed deportation charges last year against 164,000 jailed illegal immigrants and removed 95,000, spokesman Tim Counts said.
Known as "Secure Communities," the plan is designed to upgrade computer technology in jails and allow access to ICE's fingerprint database to quickly identify immigration violators as they are booked.
Immigrant rights groups have denounced the ICE project.
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