Electronic Anklets Track Asylum Seekers in U.S.

R.A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Wed Mar 2 05:19:35 PST 2005



Legal Affairs

Electronic Anklets Track Asylum Seekers in U.S.

 by Daniel Zwerdling
Audio for this story will be available at approx. 10:00 a.m. ET

Morning Edition, March 2, 2005 7  The Department of Homeland Security is
experimenting with a controversial new method to keep better track of
immigrants awaiting appeals on their applications to remain in the United
States. It is requiring aliens in eight cities to wear electronic monitors
24 hours a day.

 The ankle bracelets are the same monitors that some rapists and other
convicted criminals have to wear on parole. But the government's pilot
project is putting monitors on aliens who have never been accused of a

 So far, the Department of Homeland Security has put electronic monitors on
more than 1,700 immigrants. Victor Cerda, director of Detention and Removal
Operations at Homeland Security, says the anklets will help prevent tens of
thousands of immigrants who are ordered to leave the country each year from
"absconding" -- going into hiding to avoid deportation.

But critics say Cerda and other Homeland Security officials have
exaggerated the extent of the problem. They point to a Justice Department
study that put much of the blame on immigration officials, saying they'd
failed to keep adequate records to track illegal aliens.

Another Take on Ankle Monitors

 Sarah Barry fled Liberia's civil war in the early 1990s. She's now
awaiting a decision on her appeal of a government deportation order. Barry
says she's glad to be able to wear an ankle monitor. Hear why:
	 	Hear Sarah Barry

Alternatives to Anklets

 A three-year pilot program in New York City tested how supervision
affected immigrants' rates of appearance in court and compliance with court
rulings. The program found that supervision -- regular phone calls from
program workers, reminders about court dates, referrals to legal
representatives and other such measures -- is more cost effective than
detention and almost doubles the rate of compliance.
	 	Read the Vera Institute of Justice Report on Community Supervision

Related NPR Stories
	 	Feb. 9, 2005
Panel: U.S. Mistreats Asylum Seekers
	 	Nov. 23, 2004
Special Report: Jailed Immigrants Allege Abuse

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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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