The FBI on Tuesday began sharing the fingerprints of people held in District of Columbia jails with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The change did not sit well with the D.C. government. On Tuesday, the D.C. Council moved to limit the District's participation in the federal Secure Communities program that uses fingerprints to help ICE identify illegal immigrants booked into local jails and to deport them.
The legislation would limit to 24 hours the amount of time that jailers can hold a detainee for ICE after that person normally would have been released. The jailers will only do that for people convicted of a "dangerous crime or a crime of violence," and only if the federal government agrees to reimburse the District for the costs of holding that person.
The bill, which awaited the mayor's signature on Wednesday, is expected to become law within days.
Critics have long argued that the Secure Communities program results in the deportation of people arrested for minor crimes and traffic violations. They also complain that it breeds distrust for local law enforcement among immigrant communities, which see local police as proxies for immigration agents.
Earlier this month, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray released a statement expressing his disappointment that the federal government was going to implement the program in Washington.