GPS Tracking of Immigrants: Alternative to Detention or a Troubling Civil Rights Violation

GPS Tracking of Immigrants: Alternative to Detention or a Troubling Civil Rights Violation

By now most Americans – and indeed many people around the world – are familiar with the horrific scenes of immigrant children being snatched away from their parents and carted off to detention centers. Some of these children, it has been reported, may never be reunited with their parents as they and their parents await an uncertain future. Well, now the US government and ICE say that they have come up with a solution to the Trump administration’s policy which has become a humanitarian crisis and a PR disaster – the electronic monitoring of immigrants.

The Monitors

Ankle monitor have been used for some time to track the movement of people who have been confined to their home as a condition of their release from traditional incarceration. These monitors use a radio frequency signal to communicate back to a monitoring station and are designed to be tamper-proof. The monitors issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement are 5.5-once devices that are also called grillets, or electronic shackles. In July of this year the US government reportedly used about 9,300 ankle monitors at a time — 40% more than about six months ago.

What Proponents of Monitoring Say

The government argues that the monitors are more humane than incarcerating immigrants until they are scheduled to appear in court. Moreover, the government claims that the monitors are used on a case by case basis with the emphasis being placed on tracking serious criminal offenders. Finally, the government argues that monitoring immigrants and asylum seekers is less expensive than housing someone in a detention center.

What Opponents of Monitoring Say

The American Bar Association characterizes the monitoring of immigrants this way: It is a form of restriction on liberty similar to detention, rather than a meaningful alternative to detention.” Additionally, they argue, and the government concedes that they fail to work once deportation proceedings begin. Moreover, some experts argue that the devices are difficult but not impossible to remove and that people who are being tracked in this way routinely circumvent the shackles by breaking free of them. Finally, some people who have been tracked with these devices say that can easily set off false alarms when their batteries die, they bump into other objects, etc.immigrants

I say that human should not be placed into a catch and release kind of program. The real solution is real reform to the entire immigration system. Immigrant detention should not be replaced by a system that is ineffective, inhumane and violates the privacy rights of individuals. As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, I work with people who are trapped in this broken system. As an immigration attorney in Ventura County, I can help you find the best course of action for your unique set of circumstances.

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