As if it weren’t egregious enough that a record 2.5 million illegal immigrants crossed into the U.S. in fiscal year 2022, the Biden administration released hundreds of thousands of them in the country with taxpayer-funded smartphones that were supposed to track them but have failed miserably to do so. It is part of a controversial Alternatives to Detention program (ATD) and it costs the government a startling $361,218 per day, according to year-end figures (the fiscal year ended in September) released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The new records reveal that the agency issued migrants 255,602 smartphones, 40,970 global positioning system (GPS) devices and 19,902 voice ID applications before releasing them.
The idea is to track the illegal aliens waiting for a court date. “ICE’s ATD program uses technology and other tools to manage undocumented individual’s compliance with release conditions while they are on the non-detained docket,” according to the agency. “It is not a substitute for detention,” ICE admits, but it allows the agency to “exercise increased supervision over a portion of those who are not detained.” The program began in 2004 and has grown exponentially under the Biden administration. As of August 2020, there are more than 3.3 million illegal immigrants assigned to the non-detained docket, according to ICE. Of those, the agency monitors around 5%. Local deportation officers from the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) determine the type of monitoring that is appropriate for each migrant. This includes GPS devices, telephonic reporting, or a smartphone application. “ATD seeks to increase compliance with release conditions, court appearances and final orders of removal while allowing noncitizens to remain in their communities,” according to an ICE fact sheet.
Illegal aliens released in the country with smartphones make up a small portion of the growing ATD program, which cost taxpayers $440 million in fiscal year 2021 compared to $149 million in 2020. There are varying degrees of supervision and monitoring options and on average there is one ATD case manager for every 125 illegal immigrants, ICE discloses in the program’s fact sheet. The level of supervision and technology assigned to participants is based on criminal history, compliance history, community, or family ties, being a caregiver or provider and other humanitarian or medical conditions. Besides technology, the program uses “case management protocols” to keep track of illegal aliens, which is referred to as monitoring “noncitizen compliance.”
A former senior advisor at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a recent newspaper report that the ATD program has proven to be a “costly failure” and that thousands of illegal aliens disappear from monitoring every year. “The goal should be to quickly determine whether these individuals have a valid case, and if not, to quickly deport them,” the former DHS advisor, Jon Feere, says in the article. In the same story former acting ICE director Ron Vitiello says that ATD is popular among the left and sounds great, but the reality is illegal immigrants in the program will likely never be deported. “There’s nothing at the end of these programs, Vitiello said. “If they don’t report in, that’s that. They’re now a fugitive.” The story focused on the government’s recent $80 million contract for a new and highly questionable system that monitors illegal aliens but prohibits the use of GPS technology.
Back in the throes of COVID-19, the Biden administration released criminal aliens from jail to avoid spreading the virus under an improvised bail arrangement that required a similar honor agreement with lawbreakers, home confinement. Some of the incarcerated individuals were convicted of serious offenses such as aggravated assault with a weapon, drug trafficking, domestic violence, fraud, and extortion. Not surprisingly, the illegal alien convicts left their home hundreds of times despite federal court orders to stay home. One illegal alien left his house 214 times in one month and another 78 times. Others violated house arrest orders on dozens of occasions and one illegal immigrant convict left 17 times in one day. The bail violations were well documented with data provided by court-mandated GPS monitoring.