Outgoing CO Gov. Bill Ritter Announces Immigrant Fingerprint Program

Outgoing Colorado Governor Bill Ritter approved a controversial program on Tuesday that allows the state to identify illegal immigrants through the fingerprints of every person booked into jail.

The program is controversial because some argue that the program will lead to unjust deportations and racial profiling, but Ritter countered that the Secure Communities program improves "public safety, national security and crime fighting."

The program is run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and allows records from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to be cross-referenced quickly. Immigrant groups say that the Secure Communities program doesn't have the ability to ensure that only serous criminals are targeted and have said that the it raises the possibility of immigrants being unjustly deported if they report crimes.

Incoming Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper indicated that he would not try remove Colorado from Secure Communities saying the program "is intended to remove dangerous people from our communities."

"As long as there is no profiling, and as long as the program is implemented properly, our communities will be safer and the rights of our citizens will be protected," he concluded.