The Hidden Costs of Trackers Attached to Illegal Immigrants Crossing Border

Law Firm Newswire



Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 18, 2015 – Homeland Security wants to track immigrant families who have illegally crossed the border and entered the U.S. with ankle bracelets employing GPS tracking.

“In the never ending war to keep borders secure, a virtually impossible task, Homeland Security is tracking illegals captured and released with ankle bracelets that use GPS,” says Larry Rifkin, a Miami attorney specializing in immigration law.

The intention of the program is to snap ankle bracelets on some of the parents caught crossing the border in Rio Grande Valley with their children. Along with the bracelet, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers hand them a notice to appear before immigration officials before they are released from custody. According to preliminary statistics released at a confidential meeting in September, almost 70 percent of the families receiving an ankle bracelet did not report back to ICE, despite being ordered to do so.

“The reason for trying an alternative method to keep track of illegal immigrants was to alleviate flak the government was experiencing over hastily patched together temporary family jails at a rural New Mexico Border Patrol training academy and at a men’s jail in Texas,” adds Rifkin. “Those jailed were mostly mothers and their young children.” Jail conditions do not reflect an adherence to humanitarian principles.

The idea behind RGV 250, the ICE pilot program launched in December, was to get more immigrants to report back to ICE. However, many individuals fear that the concept of tracking immigrants as if they were felons is more of a detriment to compliance than an encouragement. What may not be clear to the parents wearing ankle bracelets is that if they do report back, ICE officials may possibly remove the hardware. Nonetheless, many immigrants are afraid and suspicious of authority, and once they have ankle bracelets on, would be loath to voluntarily report back to those that captured them in the first place.

“It seems the sensitivity required in situations like this is sadly missing,” observes Rifkin. “Human rights can be an amorphous area, but clearly handing out ankle bracelets and tracking people down to get them to report and maybe removing the bracelet is treading perilously close to breaching human rights.”
According to ICE, they only screen the immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety into the program and release them into the U.S.

As for the likely success of RGV 250? “I’d estimate it is not going to be a long lived program,” Rifkin speculates. “There are far too many pitfalls inherent in how it is run, not the least of which is it designed to save money, not compassionately deal with people seeking shelter.”

The RGV 250 program appears to be a reason way to save money in comparison with incarceration, since the new reporting program costs $3.50 per day per person tracked plus a $19.50 enrollment fee. Other programs come in at about $4.50 a day per person. Jailing someone runs about $119 per day. The real illogicality in this situation is in the fact that ICE is collecting an enrollment fee from those least likely to be able to afford it.