Carlos has been under extreme surveillance by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency for three years. and although he recognizes that it is important to be with his family, being “persecuted” 24 hours a day has generated frustration and fear for him and his family.
This Mexican immigrant is part of one of the Alternative Forms to Detention (ATD) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencywhich has grown to more than 1,000% in some cities, such as Phoenix, Arizona.
“I arrive a little later than my work hour and my daughters ask their mother: ‘What time is she going to arrive?’ What happened to me, because what my wife does is mark me,” Carlos told the podcast The Limitless Diary. “As soon as I knock on the door and they hug me… it’s that frustration, it’s hard to explain, you have to be in that situation, you wake up uncertainly [sobre] what will happen to one?
During the administration of President Joe Biden, ATDs have increased and although it has been a battle of immigrant advocates to avoid incarceration, the new tactics have not satisfied activists, since they consider them invasive, as indicated by the report “Tracked and Trapped” (“Tracked and Trapped”), carried out by 14 organizations that work with non-citizens.
The states with the highest increase, according to the report, are Texas, California, New York, Arizona, Massachusetts.
Nevertheless, there are 10 cities that stand out in these entities, due to the significant increase in the percentage of immigrants who have a shackle with GPS, they are monitored with the SmartLink mobile application or they must call and accept calls from ICE agents at any time. Those strategies are part of the policy also called the Intensive Supervisory Appearance Program (ISAP).
In Phoenix the program grew 1,095%; in El Paso 401%; in San Antonio 364%; in Boston 258%; in Dallas 133%; in Denver 121%; in New York 120%; in Philadelphia 115%; in Miami 104% and in Newark 91%.
The increase is reported in several entities, including California, where there are three key cities with increases in extreme surveillance of immigrants: San Diego with an increase of 68.87%, Los Angeles with 38.85% and San Francisco 33.65%.
“Over the past year, the Biden Administration has rapidly expanded the so-called ‘Alternatives to Detention’ (ATD) program,” the report states. “This electronic monitoring program now has more than 227,000 immigrants under constant surveillance as of April 2022, more than double the number enrolled in the program when President Biden took office.”
a deceitful freedom
The report indicates that the ISAP is presumed by the authorities as an “alternative” to abuses in prison, but activists believe the policy actually “expands ICE’s prison reach”in addition to reinforcing all forms of detaining immigrants.
“ICE’s electronic monitoring program is nothing more than ‘crumbs to freedom’ that keeps immigrants in digital cages,” the report states. “We will settle for nothing unless it is an end to the criminalization of immigration. The only true alternative to detention is freedom.”
The report was carried out by the organizations African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA), Boston Immigration Justice and Accountability Network (BIJAN), Community Justice Exchange, Detention Watch Network, Envision Freedom Fund, Freedom for Immigrants, GLAHR, Just Futures Law, La Resistencia, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC), Mijente, Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) and Youth Justice Coalition.
“This report highlights the unbearable toll that ICE electronic monitoring takes on immigrant communities, underscoring the need for a transformational shift in our approach to immigration,” it says. “Despite ICE claims to the contrary, digital prisons are physically inhibiting and harmful to health and well-being”.
Carlos, for example, emphasizes that there is such extreme surveillance that it has caused constant fear in him and his family.
“We are a family of five from Mexico, we have lived in the Inland Empire, in Southern California, since our daughters were born. I was arrested and released on bail in October 2019,” she shared. “I have been in the ISAP program ever since and it has been traumatizing, not only for me, but for my entire family. Supposedly I’m free, but really I’m not.
The organizations fear that ICE will considerably increase this program, due to the request for more than $500 million dollars from Congress, so they ask legislators not to approve those funds, in addition to maintaining pressure from the Biden Administration to end the persecution. of the immigrants.