ICE issues smartphones to 255,602 illegal border crossers;  Cost $89.5 million per year

ICE issues smartphones to 255,602 illegal border crossers; Cost $89.5 million per year

US Department of Homeland Security agencies released more than 255,000 smartphones to illegal aliens during the 2022 fiscal year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data. website.

Phones are trackable and the individual is responsible for checking in with ICE on a regular basis, often by sending a geotagged photo of themselves.

255,602 phones and associated technologies cost $245,377 per day. Over the course of a year, that was $89.5 million.

The majority of phones were issued to single adults.

ICE has failed to provide any data on the compliance rate of the smartphone program or on the number of aliens who have fled it, despite repeated requests by The Epoch Times.

ICE has been releasing smartphones over the past year as border stations have become overwhelmed. Agents have begun processing illegal aliens under a newly created category called “Parole + ATD”. ATD is an “alternatives to detention” program, which serves as an alternative to legal requirements to detain illegal aliens.

By law, parole is designed to be used “on a case-by-case basis” and “for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” according to the INA.

The status allows foreign nationals “who may not be accepted into the country under immigration laws” to live and work in the United States temporarily “without being formally accepted into the state and without a prescribed pathway to permanent immigration status,” according to the 2020 Congressional Research Service. Report.

Under parole status, undocumented immigrants do not have to provide border guards with credible evidence of fear of asylum and are allowed entry without any preconditions, except for a quick background check in the US crime database.

A CBP spokesperson previously told The Epoch Times that the parole designation allows overcrowded Border Patrol stations to process and release large numbers of illegal aliens “quicker” than the more traditional system, which releases an illegal alien with a notice that appears to include Court date for first immigration hearing.

In addition to smartphones, nearly 41,000 additional illegal aliens in fiscal year 2022 – which ended on September 30 – were fitted with ankle monitors with built-in GPS tracking. Nearly 20,000 others have been placed in another type of alternative detention programme.

A Border Patrol agent organizes illegal immigrants gathered at the border fence after crossing from Mexico into the United States in Yuma, Arizona, on December 10, 2021 (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

no consequences

US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said in July that the lack of consequences for illegal entry operations was the main driver of the border crisis.

“In my experience, we’ve seen increases when there are no consequences,” Ortiz said July 28 during testimony in a lawsuit against the federal government brought by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Ortiz said that as long as the Biden administration does not detain or remove most illegal immigrants, the numbers will increase.

“There is an assumption that if the immigrant population is told there is a potential for release, then yes, you can see increases,” he said.

era era pictures
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testifies before the Florida Attorney General’s office as part of a lawsuit the state is bringing against the federal government, in Washington, July 28, 2022. (Screenshot/The Epoch Times)

In addition, deportation cases of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants were dismissed before court because Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials failed to provide the required paperwork, a recent report revealed.

One in six new cases (16.6 percent) are dismissed for failure to follow due process, according to the immigration court tracking table, the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

For the six-year period from fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2018, fewer than 1 percent of cases, or 1,221, were rejected because DHS failed to provide the necessary paperwork “notice to appear.” The notice includes the date of the illegal immigrant’s first court hearing.

The number of dismissals due to paperwork failures has increased dramatically every year since then, with 47,330 cases so far in fiscal year 2022 with three months of data pending, according to a TRAC report.

Final month data from the border crossing for fiscal year 2022 has yet to be released by Customs and Border Protection, but the number of arrests at the southern border has already reached 2 million for the year.

In total, border agents across the country will have arrested more than 2.5 million illegal immigrants from more than 160 countries during the year.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the daily cost of smartphones. The era of the era regrets the error.

Charlotte Cuthbertson


Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times covering primarily border security and the opioid crisis.

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