Criminal database sometimes gets it wrong on immigration

Over 8000 people in the US have been mistakenly flagged for illegal immigration offenses since the Bush Administration’s new policy of entering immigrants’ names into the FBI crime database went into effect. The intention behind this policy is to apprehend terrorists.

Immigration offenses, commonly overstaying a visa are a civil infraction rather than a criminal infraction that would be dealt with by police. However after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, homeland security is urging the states and local jurisdictions to help them enforce immigration laws, by putting the violaters’ names into the FBI crime database.

A police officer investigating a violation will enter the suspect’s name into the database. If it returns with information that the suspect is wanted by immigration officials, the officer is required to make a phone call to confirm it. If it’s somebody who’s not wanted, this should be determined within 10 minutes.

There is concern that most of the immigrants effected seem to be Hispanics.

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