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Some states had tried to opt out of the fingerprint portion, but federal authorities said they have no choice.

Cook County is not yet covered by Secure Communities, but the program is expected to be running nationwide next year.

Mr. Morton told Congress the Obama administration has been trying to work the detainer issue out with Cook’s leaders, but said those conversations have gone nowhere.

“I won’t sugarcoat it. I don’t think that that approach is going to work. And in full, we’re going to need the help of others,” he said.

Crackdown on Cook County?

One option would be to withhold federal aid that goes to help counties that end up holding criminal aliens in their jails.

Cook County received more than $13 million in federal money under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program from 2008 to 2011, putting it in the top 10 nationwide for SCAAP assistance.

But a spokesman for the county sheriff’s department said it estimates the number will drop to $460,000 for federal fiscal year 2012.

Applications for reimbursement were due to the Justice Department last week, and Mr. Morton said he’ll fight to cut Cook County’s money.

“My own position is going to be that if we do not have access to those individuals, we will not be able to verify their request for the year,” he said.

He got backing from both Democrats and Republicans on the subcommittee.

“They cannot say, you know, we don’t want you to do Secure Communities, but then at the same time they’re requesting federal dollars for holding those prisoners,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee.

Curtailing 287(g)

Mr. Morton also defended his agency’s decision to end cooperation with local police in Arizona under the 287(g) program after the Supreme Court ruled on that state’s law last month.

Hours after the ruling, Homeland Security said it would no longer cooperate with a half-dozen state task forces that allowed local police to enforce federal immigration laws.

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