DHS Starts New Policy of Electronically Tracking Migrants After 47,000 Go Missing

DHS Starts New Policy of Electronically Tracking Migrants After 47,000 Go Missing Southern Border People wait in line to enter the United States at the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry in downtown El Paso, Texas. (Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images)

By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 10:26 AM

After losing track of almost 50,000 migrants let go from Border Patrol custody, the Biden administration has started tracking all illegal immigrants released at the southern border into the United States with electronic monitoring, the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday.

The Biden administration began using this new policy sometime this past fall (the exact date is unclear) after the failure of its previous program, which relied on migrants to check in with the government on their own.

Under the old policy, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released many from custody with documents called notices to report, which instructed the migrants to check in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) once they reached their destination in the country.

However, of some 100,000 released under this policy between mid-March and August, about 47,000 failed to check in.

Because ICE had no information about them, the DHS did not have any idea where they had gone, according to the Examiner.

The new policy, called "parole," keeps track of the migrants by placing ankle monitors on them or installing a phone app. If the tracking app is deleted from a phone, ICE is notified and can take action.

The administration had used the policy of issuing notices to report in an attempt to more quickly process people in custody as illegal migration at the U.S.-Mexico border soared following President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Using the notices to report permitted Border Patrol to save time by not placing each person in court proceedings to ensure that they would appear before a judge for illegally crossing the border.

The new policy responds to harsh criticism about not knowing where such large numbers of migrants have gone by making it easier for the government to track every migrant while at the same time not placing them in detention, which has been Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ main goal, the Examiner reported.