Immigrants in Detention Forced to Wear Tracking Devices

Immigrants held in the detention center run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the border city of El Paso are now forced to wear tracking devices. This follows the expansion of an enforcement tool that is usually applied to released undocumented immigrants while they await their day in court.

Critics say that it makes no sense to use tracking devices on people already held in detention. The Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center managing attorney, Linda Rivas, says that the decision makes no sense, and represents a waste of resources. Use of the monitoring devices had been confined to immigrants judged as ‘low risk’ before, as part of the conditions for their release from detention, to ensure that they show up for their hearings in immigration court.

The program is credited by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as having saved them a considerable expense, given that detaining people costs a lot more than releasing and monitoring them. ICE says that implementing the monitoring program did not result in extra costs but did not give details on how much was spent to do so.

El Paso is currently the only detention center to use tracking devices on immigrant inmates. ICE says that there are no immediate plans to use them in other centers. The devices were tried out in another facility, only to run into technical difficulties, which proved hard to resolve.