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December 2, 2022Washington, DC, United StatesEnforcement and Removal, Partnership and Engagement

ICE hosts Alternatives to Detention program symposium

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hosted a symposium to share ideas and inform future concepts for the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program. The event was held at ICE headquarters in Washington, DC with more than 100 stakeholders from nongovernmental organizations, academia, and private industry in attendance. ICE’s ATD program, which began in 2004, uses technology and case management to ensure non-detained noncitizen compliance with release conditions, court hearings, and final orders of removal. The agency is looking to stakeholders for ideas to inform the development of uniform standards to govern ATD programs.

“ICE’s ATD program has evolved significantly over the past 18 years, but its primary focus remains the same: ensuring that noncitizens understand their immigration obligations under the appropriate level of supervision specific to their individual case,” said ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, during his opening remarks at the symposium. “Through a series of innovations, we have used the past two decades to build a humane, cost-effective, and community-based case management service — and now, as always, we are looking to our stakeholder partners to aid in the advancement of the program.”

ATD allows for closer monitoring of non-detained noncitizens at varying levels of supervision, using several different monitoring technologies. ATD effectively increases court appearance rates, compliance with release conditions, and helps the participants meet basic needs and understand immigration obligations. Those who do not report are subject to arrest and potential removal. To be eligible for ATD, noncitizens must be 18 years of age or older, effectively removable from the United States, and in some stage of the immigration process.

The event comprised four discussion panels:

  • Best Practices in Case Management
  • Electronic Monitoring and Privacy
  • Domestic and International Approaches
  • Program Compliance and Ensuring Outcomes

ATD is currently available in more than 300 locations nationwide for eligible participants residing within all 25 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) areas of responsibility. The ATD program supervises participants with contractor support, utilizing a combination of technology, home visits, office visits, alert management, and court tracking. The daily cost per ATD participant is less than $8 per day versus the cost of detention, which is approximately $150 per day.

After an individualized case review, and upon determination a noncitizen is eligible for ATD, that individual will be assigned to a form of electronic monitoring. ICE uses three types of technology:

  • GPS Monitoring: Satellites track the location of a noncitizen to ensure compliance with release conditions.
  • VoiceID: Also known as telephonic reporting, noncitizens report in via telephone and the phone calls are compared against a voiceprint obtained during enrollment to ensure identity verification.
  • SmartLINK: Facial matching technology obtaining a GPS point on a limited basis is used to monitor participant compliance, provide limited case management support, provide notification reminders, and direct communication with the case specialist.

As part of the ATD program, ICE offers case management options as well as monitoring options, including voluntary supplemental services to participants.