ICE Increases Use of Ankle Monitors and Smartphones to Monitor Immigrants
(30 Sep 2022) The number of people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternative to Detention (ATD) program has officially crossed 300,000 people for the first time, reaching 316,700 according to data released this week. ICE’s ATD program has received heightened attention as growing numbers of migrants, many of whom are recent arrivals at the border, are now monitored through a smartphone app called SmartLINK, now reaching 255,602 people in total.

ICE’s use of GPS ankle monitors shot back up to nearly 41,000 after steadily declining for over a year and reaching a low of just 16,444 in July 2022. This means that nearly 25,000 immigrants have been added to ICE list of people with ankle monitors in less than two months, at the average rate of over 400 net people added each day. Telephonic reporting, which relies on landlines, continues to decline and is now represents less than 20,000 cases.

The latest data also shows that ICE is currently holding about 25,000 people in detention centers across the country, a number which has been remarkably consistent over the past year and a half despite large numbers of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border. The number of migrants arrested by ICE (instead of CBP at the border) has climbed modestly each month from 4,328 in October 2021 to 6,586 in August 2022—but these numbers are still far below historic numbers. For instance, using TRAC’s ICE arrest tool here, data show that ICE’s monthly number of arrests hovered around 14,000 from March 2017 until May 2018. Ten years ago it averaged over 25,000 a month.

These data are essential to the public’s understanding of immigration enforcement. TRAC released a report just last week examining ICE’s tendency to release unreliable detention data over the past two years, including an acceleration of erroneous and misleading data over the summer. See the report: “ICE’s Sloppy Public Data Releases Undermine Congress’s Transparency Mandate.” Among the many errors TRAC drew attention to, the most consistently erroneous data included data associated with ICE’s Alternatives to Detention program and data on ICE’s immigrant detention facilities. With this week’s data, ICE appears to have corrected these errors and included current data on ATD enrollment and ICE’s detention facilities.

Highlights from data updated in TRAC's Quick Fact tool show that:
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 25,134 in ICE detention according to data current as of September 25, 2022.
  • 16,664 out of 25,134—or 66.3%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of September 25, 2022. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.
  • ICE relied on detention facilities in Texas to house the most people during FY 2022, according to data current as of September 19, 2022.
  • ICE arrested 6,586 and CBP arrested 18,195 of the 24,781 people booked into detention by ICE during August 2022.
  • South Texas ICE Processing Center in Pearsall, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2022, averaging 1,109 per day (as of September 2022).
  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 316,700 families and single individuals, according to data current as of September 24, 2022.
  • Harlingen's area office has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of September 24, 2022.

For more information, see TRAC's Quick Facts tools here or click here to learn more about TRAC's entire suite of immigration tools.

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