SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) _ Immigrant rights groups are demanding that federal officials allow counties to opt out of a controversial federal fingerprint sharing program.

Ever since Secure Communities was activated, several counties have tried to opt out of the program, which collects fingerprint data from illegal immigrants arrested in the state.

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But San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey said both federal and state officials told him he couldn’t opt out.

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“I received a letter from Attorney General Brown, who said that he did not wish to help anyone opt out because he felt it was a matter of statewide concern,” said Hennessey.

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But now, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they are prepared to talk about Hennessey’s request.

“We’ll sit down and we’ll discuss with the sheriff what his specific issues and concerns are,” said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice. “And then based on those discussions, we’ll take a look at the options and seek a feasible resolution.”

Kice said that may include changing the counties activation status in SComm.

But Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa, who said he would also like to opt out of the program, is not sure about ICE’s motives.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence and I’m suspect that they’ve moved a little easier than I thought they would,” he said.

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He said ICE may continue to collect fingerprint data at the state level, even if counties choose not to participate.