Originally posted by Time Magazine and written by Jasmine Aguilera. Summary provided by McEntee Law Group.

Advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against ICE over a new federal government tracking program that uses immigrants’ personal information. 

The Biden administration has been attempting to rely less on immigrant detention centers. As a result, they’ve been using surveillance technology as a tool to track immigrants.  

Advocates have long opposed the use of immigrant detention centers. However, the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program raises new challenges. 

More than 216,000 immigrants are in the ATD program, more than double than when Biden first took office. The program uses an app called SmartLINK, which tracks immigrants by facial/voice recognition and GPS tracking. The app was created by BI incorporated, owned by the largest private prison company in the U.S.  

While the use of the ATD program has increased, the use of immigrant detention centers has gone down. However, experts say this is not a direct correlation. 

Immigrants enrolled in the program are not in the criminal justice system. They are simply waiting for their immigration hearing date. However, critics say the program acts as a ‘digital prison,’ monitoring immigrants’ every move and storing their data. 

“We’re gonna continue to be part of this lawsuit until we can get some basic information to understand how people’s most personal data, their biometric information, is being used by private companies and the government in this moment,” said Jacinta Gonzalez, senior campaign director at Mijente, immigrant advocacy organization. 

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