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Randall Jeppesen and AP reportingFederal immigration agents are visiting Utah jails with a renewed emphasis on finding immigrants who have been arrested by local police. They are using improved fingerprint technology to alert local jails when an illegal immigrant has been arrested more than once and booked in jail.
In March, immigration agents announced an expansion of the jail program. Rather than search for every illegal immigrant or raid workplaces, federal agents are concentrating on immigrants accused of breaking the law after they arrive in the United States.
Though the focus began last month, Capt. John Carlson at the Utah County Jail says the jail's partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has already been a good one. "They've been very responsive, ever since we've dealt with ICE. We see ‘em almost every other day, and sometimes we see ‘em every day," he said.
Once immigrants suspected of violating the terms of their entry have been arrested, federal agents can request a jail hold them without bail. The government can then begin deportation proceedings.
Carlson says the majority of undocumented immigrants brought to the Utah County Jail end up getting deported.
(The Salt Lake Tribune and Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)