POLITICS

Every California County Connected To ICE For Illegal Immigration Enforcement

HIDALGO, TX - MAY 28:  Special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol question a woman while her vehicle is searched after she was stopped heading into Mexico at the Hidalgo border crossing on May 28, 2010 in Hidalgo, Texas. The inspection was part of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joint effort between ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Customs and Border Patrol. The organizations are trying to slow the flow of guns, money and drugs from the United State into Mexico.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

HIDALGO, TX - MAY 28: Special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol question a woman while her vehicle is searched after she was stopped heading into Mexico at the Hidalgo border crossing on May 28, 2010 in Hidalgo, Texas. The inspection was part of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joint effort between ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Customs and Border Patrol. The organizations are trying to slow the flow of guns, money and drugs from the United State into Mexico. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  (2010 Getty Images)

If you're arrested in California, federal authorities can now screen your immigration status across every county of the state.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Friday that the last six counties were hooked up to the so-called Secure Communities program this week.

According to ICE, it has taken custody of nearly 48,000 convicted criminal aliens in the state identified as a result of the program, since May 2009 when San Diego county became the first California jurisdiction to be connected to Secure Communities. 

Of that number, 23,712 have already been removed from the United States. The undocumented immigrants deported from California as a result of Secure Communities include more than 10,000 individuals who had been convicted of serious or violent criminal offenses. The data is current through Jan. 31.

The program began in California in 2009 and is currently being rolled out across the nation.
Under the program, arrestees' fingerprints are checked against Department of Homeland Security records and immigration officials are notified when there is a hit.

"Secure Communities is improving and modernizing the identification and removal of criminal aliens," said Secure Communities Acting Assistant Director Marc Rapp. "It is a major step forward in ICE's efforts to work with local law enforcement in California and across the country to prevent criminal aliens from being released to our streets," he said.

The program has faced ardent criticism from immigrant advocates who say involving local police in immigration enforcement discourages undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano recently introduced a bill that would cancel the agreement between California and ICE unless individual counties are able to opt out of the program. Ammiano and local officials believe that the program erodes the relationship between police and immigrant communities.

California authorities aren't the only ones who believe that a strong anti-illegal immigration push could endanger fragile relationships within the community.

ICE originally made the program voluntary but changed it to involuntary when counties started opting out of the program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Adrian Carrasquillo atAdrian.Carrasquillo@foxnewslatino.com and on Twitter @RealAdrianC.

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