The White House confirmed that illegal immigrants have been provided with electronic devices, including cell phones, to enable the Biden administration “track” them and “check in” as they wait for immigration court proceedings. Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, about the initiative. Jen Psaki explained that the goal was to monitor illegal immigrants.
Psaki stated that “we need to take steps so we know where individuals are, we can track them and we can check in with their progress.”
Psaki stated that the Alternatives to Detention program, which is what Psaki uses, employs three forms of technology to monitor participants who are enrolled in it. Telephonic, one of the three forms, uses the participant’s voice to create an audio biometric voiceprint. When the participant makes a check in call, their voice will be compared to the voiceprint.
Psaki said that Smartlink, another option, allows participant monitoring via smartphone/tablet using facial matching technology. This allows participants to verify their identity. Psaki also mentioned the “Global Positioning System”, which tracks the movements and locations of illegal immigrants in their waiting trials via an ankle bracelet.
Psaki stated that the distribution of smartphones was part of the United States’ effort to help individuals enter the country and those who have already entered the country will be subject to immigration proceedings to track and monitor their movements.
She stated that the monitoring efforts of the Biden administration have resulted in the “vast, great majority” of people appearing on time.
Doocy asked Psaki if there were any concerns that migrants might decide to “toss” the phones. She replied, “Do you have record people throwing away phones?” Doocy stated, “I’m asking if it’s a concern.”
Psaki stated that “our concern is to ensure that individuals who illegally migrate to the United States go through our process of, yea, being monitored but also participating in hearings to decide if they will be allowed to stay.”
Psaki claimed that the “vast majority of people appear in part”, and she continued, “We have these monitors monitoring systems in order do that effectively.”
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri asked about reports that DHS would provide free phones to migrants in a Wednesday email to Alejandro Mayorkas from Department of Homeland Security.