Judge in NY sets date for immigrant program papers

August 18, 2011 - 7:20 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge in New York has ordered the federal government to speed up the release of documents about a U.S. program for identifying deportable immigrants after they have been detained.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin told the government to release some 40,000 documents about the Secure Communities program by Sept. 13 to civil rights groups and immigrant advocates. The judge set the schedule after rejecting a government plan to produce them by year's end.

Under the program, fingerprints of detainees arrested locally are shared with federal authorities. Lawyer Peter Markowitz said advocates were pleased the judge also ordered the release next week of a document in which the government explains its rationale for the program.

Critics say the program has made immigrants reluctant to report crime because they fear deportation.