Three years after government announced it would try using ankle bracelets for "non-violent, low-risk," cases in Miami, Detroit and Anchorage, Alaska, and consider expanding the program nationwide, only five of these bracelets are in service, said Steven Branch, a manager for compliance at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The problem, Branch
said, was that the bracelet used on the participants "didn't tell us where they were.It just told us that they weren't home." Branch
agency is now looking into bracelets that have global positioning satellite capability.
In the meantime, the government has been testing other techniques.
said the situation is re-versed for illegal immigrants, who are not in a detention facility.
"With the alien population, they're released and they comply all along, until it reaches the point where they've been ordered to leave," he
said."Now, they need to make a decision. 'Do I comply?' or 'Do I become a fugitive?' "
At that point, 40,000 illegal immigrants each year choose to become fugitives.The cumulative total for absconders has now soared to 597,000. Branch
said the alternative monitoring programs are still far too small to have an impact on a caseload of 1.2 million on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency
said a major expansion may not be cost effective, although the intensive surveillance option costs $20 a day per participant, compared with $90 a day for detention.By far the most reliable way to ensure compliance with court orders is detention, Branch
agency offered a non-committal answer when the inspector general for Homeland Security
last April recommended speeding up alternative monitoring systems.
said one method that apparently did work was tested in 2004 in Atlanta.