Illegal immigrant phone program proves more costly than efficient

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Illegal immigrant phone program proves more costly than efficient

Ian Patrick, FISM News


As if the historic 2 million border encounters in Fiscal Year 2022 weren’t bad enough, a new report shows that a federal program that provides smartphones to immigrants is costing the American taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars per day.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) released its own data as FY22 wrapped up, detailing statistics focusing on detentions. However, part of this report also gave statistics on a program known as Alternatives to Detention (ADT).

The ICE website says this program “uses technology and other tools to manage undocumented individuals’ compliance with release conditions while they are on the non-detained docket.”

“It is not a substitute for detention, but allows ICE to exercise increased supervision over a portion of those who are not detained,” the website says.

The program includes issuing technologies to this category of undocumented migrants. The technology includes global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices, telephonic reporting (TR), or a smartphone application (SmartLINK).

According to their dataset, ICE has issued 40,970 GPS devices, 255,602 smartphone applications, and 19,902 VoiceID applications to these migrants who were not detained. What’s more, is that ICE says 226 of these undocumented migrants were not given any technology but were also not detained.

The total number of people in the ADT program for FY22 equals 316,700. ICE says that the cost to run the technology for this many people is a whopping $361,218.08 per day.

The program also appears to be overwhelming. ICE reports that each of their ATD Case Managers has around 125 ATD participants to check in on.

Jon Feere, former DHS senior adviser and director of investigations at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Washington Free Beacon back in September that the program was already “a costly failure.”

“The Alternatives to Detention program has already proven to be a costly failure with thousands of aliens disappearing from monitoring every year, and there’s no reason to think this will be any different,” he said.

“The goal should be to quickly determine whether these individuals have a valid case, and if not, to quickly deport them. Instead, DHS is developing a massive social services program that will benefit NGOs with no guarantee any of these individuals will actually return home when ordered to do so.”

Also speaking to The Free Beacon, former acting director of ICE Ron Vitiello noted that this specific program “is popular among the left. It sounds great but the reality is that people in these programs will likely never be [deported].”

“There’s nothing at the end of these programs. If they don’t report in, that’s that. They’re now a fugitive,” Vitiello said.

Representative Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) commented on the report asking “How out of touch can this president be?”

According to a report from The National Desk, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies Mark Krikorian said that there is already a cause for concern with the border being a “security vulnerability.”

“If you can’t successfully control and track who’s coming into your country, then that’s an enormous vulnerability, an enormous national security vulnerability,” Krikorian said.

This all comes as the latest CBP report on enforcement showed a record 2,005,026 enforcement actions at the southern border.

In addition, FISM News reported that there were 600,000 so-called “gotaways” for FY22, and states have begun sending some of their National Guard troops to aid the agents working at the border.

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