ICE Increases Use of GPS Monitoring for Immigrants in Alternatives to Detention (ATD)
(15 Mar 2024) Since the start of the Biden administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) increasingly relied on a smartphone app known as SmartLINK to expand the agency’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program which monitors migrants who are not in detention. This trend coincided with a decrease in the use of GPS ankle monitors which had long characterized ATD.

However, the latest ICE data show that these trends have now reversed. Although SmartLINK is still the most used ATD technology by far, now just under 160,000 migrants are on SmartLINK compared to over 200,000 last June and nearly 300,000 in December 2022. SmartLINK numbers have been on the decline for months, while GPS ankle monitors, once as low as about 4,000 in June 2023, have increased to 17,796 as of March 9, 2024. Similarly, the latest GPS technology, the VeriWatch GPS smartwatch, has expanded from its initial pilot of just 50 people in May 2023 to 365 people according to the latest data.

Although GPS monitoring is still less common than smartphone monitoring, the growth in GPS ankle monitors and wrist-worn GPS monitors represents a reverse in previous trends in ICE ATD program.

Highlights from data updated in TRAC's Detention Quick Facts tool show that:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 39,111 in ICE detention according to data current as of March 10, 2024.
  • 26,180 out of 39,111—or 66.9%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of March 10, 2024. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.
  • ICE relied on detention facilities in Texas to house the most people during FY 2024, according to data current as of March 4, 2024.
  • ICE arrested 7,385 and CBP arrested 17,052 of the 24,437 people booked into detention by ICE during February 2024.
  • South Texas Fam Residential Center in Dilley, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2024, averaging 1,848 per day (as of February 2024).
  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 184,038 families and single individuals, according to data current as of March 9, 2024.
  • San Francisco's area office has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of March 9, 2024.

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

Customized queries of TRAC's data TRAC FBI Web Site TRAC DEA Web Site TRAC Immigration Web Site TRAC IRS Web Site TRAC ATF Web Site TRAC Reports Web Site FOIA Project Web Site
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2024
TRAC What's New TRAC