What country were you born in, asked by jails/prisons?

Why on earth would they use such an imprecise method, instead of asking are you a USA citizen etc?

Why would either question be germane to booking an inmate into their facility? They have access to the NCIC (the national criminal database) and they can and should confirm any information they need to concerning the identity of the person involved.

What people forget is that most people who go to jail are either released without charge or are pleaded down to a lesser charge than the ones for which they are arrested. This is despite the fact that they may or may not be undocumented. Helping ICE should be a lower priority than ensuring that the inmates rights are protected and that the municipality in question isn’t sued.

Because everyone can prove they are a USA citizen to support the claim.

They can’t hide the clues that suggest they were born and raised outside USA (or probably Canada )

An arrest of a foreign national may require notification of the embassy of the arrestee’s country of citizenship. This is in compliance with international treaties.

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Article 36

Some countries demand notification of arrests involving their citizens regardless of whether the arrested person requests such notice.

Asking the arrestee’s country of birth is a good starting point in determining if he/she is a foreign national and may be subject to such notification requirements.

The place of birth is probably not being asked solely to assist ICE. It is one of the values that’s collected on a fingerprint card, and they’re probably being asked the question during booking for that reason.

The identifying information that is contained in NCIC, specifically the Interstate Identification Index, is mostly collected from…fingerprint cards.

Fingerprinting during booking serves a second purpose as well. If there isn’t a record in III for the identifiers the person provides, or if they provide false identifiers that do match a record in III, the booking agency submits fingerprints which are still cross-checked against FBI print records.

The importance of verifying the identity of a suspect is demonstrated by an investigation by the St. Louis Post Dispatch on wrongful arrests due to failure to verify identity by fingerprints.

A person claiming citizenship in another country has a right of access to his Embassy, according to international treaties to which the USA is signatory. There have been convictions of non-citizens that were overturned because this right to consular access was not honored pre-trial. A suspect born in the USA is presumed to be a US citizen and not entitled to consular access.

No, because the country where you were born isn’t necessarily a country of which you’ve ever been a citizen. Children of missionaries, of aid workers, of business expats, of military personnel… I’ve met several Americans-by-birth who were born in a country of which as far as they knew they’d never been citizens and they were subject to more paperwork than the actual immigrants.

Although the US ratified this treaty, the Supreme Court ruled that the US isn’t bound to abide by it due to the fact that Congress never got around to passing legislation to implement it. See Medellin v Texas for details.

I can think of at least one extraordinarily famous example of the opposite being true.