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ICE seeks proposals for biometric tracking tech as alternative to immigrant detention


Immigrants in the U.S. could be tracked with biometric technology or GPS monitoring instead of being detained in government facilities, as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has posted a formal request for proposals for technology under its “Alternative to Detention” (ADT) program.

The RFP for Intensive Supervision Appearance Program IV (ISAP IV) Support Services is part of a plan intended to enable ICE to add roughly 20,500 spaces in the ISAP system, Yahoo News reports. The Department of Homeland Security requested $30 million in additional funding for ADT for fiscal 2020 from Congress to increase its capacity.

ADT proponents say it is more cost-effective and humane than detention. While DHS projects $209.9 million in cost to monitor a daily average of 120,000 ADT participants, the agency is seeking $2.7 billion to add 54,000 beds for detainees. The approach usually consists of some combination of in-person case management by ICE officials and tracking technology, such as GPS ankle bracelets or a system using voice recognition technology with mobile phones.

The specifications included with the RFP indicates “various forms of check-in, including facial recognition.” The contractor will be responsible for providing, warehousing, installing, monitoring, and ultimately reclaiming electronic monitoring equipment until the completion of the contract. Responses are due by July 1, 2019.

The use of biometrics by the U.S. government for border protection has been increasing steadily, with CBP recently purchasing 5,000 Kojak fingerprint scanners by Integrated Biometrics for land and sea ports.

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