U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing thousands of ankle monitors, or electronic shackles, in order to keep track of the increasing number of families seeking asylum after they are released from detention. Both the government and immigration oppose the use of the devices, but for different reasons. According to the government, the ankle monitors are necessary to ensure that individuals show up in immigration court as scheduled. However, the government fully acknowledges that the monitors tend to become ineffective once deportation proceedings commence. Immigrants with deportation orders simply cut the monitors off and abscond; in these cases, ICE rarely pursues them. Immigration advocates, on the other hand, argue that the electronic monitoring devices, which are commonly used for criminals on parole or house arrest, are inappropriate and inhumane for individuals seeking asylum in the U.S.
After the Trump administration reversed its policy on the separation of immigrant families, ICE began increasingly using the ankle monitors for families released from detention during lengthy immigration court proceedings. As of July 2018, there were about 84,500 active participants in ICE’s ankle monitor program; this is triple the number of participants that there were in November 2014. About 45% of those monitors contain GPS technology.
On the whole, statistics suggest that the ankle monitor program has been largely ineffective. There was $187 million in spending on alternatives to incarceration during fiscal year 2017, almost double the number that was spent in 2014. However, the number of deportations of individuals participating in the program increased by only 273, or about one percent. The only benefit to the program seems to be the increased profits for Geo Group, the private prison company that holds the federal contract to administer the program.
If you or your family is facing any type of immigration law issue, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas immigration attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex immigration proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our immigration lawyers and learn how we can assist you.