U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acknowledged that it has "no records" on the activity and location of nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants it was supposed to monitor on U.S. soil. In addition, agency officials admitted that they have been providing "inaccurate" data on the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program for the past several months.
The Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse requested ICE, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIEA), to release ATD's activity in recent years on a "case-by-case" basis. After several requests, ICE first responded that the data it had provided so far was "inaccurate." In a subsequent response, they finally acknowledged that they have "no record" of the 377,980 immigrants listed under the program since 2019.
Electronic control of immigrants
ATD is a program created in 2004 to electronically monitor illegal immigrants who are released on U.S. soil pending a judge's ruling on their case and whether or not to accept their asylum application. To do so, they use ankle monitors, GPS and cell phones. This system was intended to alleviate the limited detention space available to ICE, which was largely overflown even before the current immigration crisis under President Biden.
Just days after announcing that the agency had been misleading to the public for months about how many immigrants were on gps ankle monitors, @icegov claims it can’t find records on over 350,000 immigrants in alternatives to detention program.https://t.co/UVzYiyklLG pic.twitter.com/mAJKz9UfPw
— Austin Kocher, PhD (@ackocher) December 28, 2022
"Fooling the public"
Speaking to the Daily Caller, Austin Kocher, associate professor at TRAC, expressed concern about ICE's response and demanded "more accurate data" from the agency:
ICE’s response that they could no longer find records on immigrants in Alternatives to Detention (ATD) that they had previously released came as a shock, particularly after they informed us recently that they had been misleading the public for several months by releasing extremely inaccurate ATD data. The agency really needs to come clean. The American public deserves to have accurate data about the ATD program.