BEL AIR, Md. — A sheriff in a central Maryland county says his department’s participation in a federal program to identify people in the United States illegally has been “hugely successful.”

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said in a statement Monday that in the year since the program began in the county, 44 people who were arrested have been identified as being in this country illegally and a priority for deportation.

Harford is one of three counties in Maryland taking part in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. According to Gahler, everyone arrested and processed at the Harford County Detention Center is screened to determine if that person qualifies for civil immigration enforcement and processing for deportation.

Frederick and Anne Arundel counties also take part in the program.