White House Gives Cell Phones to Immigrants While They Wait to Legally Enter the US

The White House has provided cell phones to immigrants and released them into American communities while they await processing to legally enter the United States.

The intent is for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to monitor the paroled immigrants. According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, the phones are one of three methods DHS is using to track them.

She said on Wednesday:

“When the participant has a check-in call, their voice is compared to the voiceprint.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts additional surveillance once immigrants have left the Border Patrol facilities. Border Patrol utilizes SmartLink, a technology that uses smartphone or tablet face matching to validate a migrant’s identity, as well as global positioning technologies, which follow their location and activity via satellites and ankle tags.

Tracking immigrants through cell phones sounds good on paper, but the devices can be easily trashed thus thwarting efforts to keep tabs on them. 

Fox News reporter Peter Doocey asked her:

“Our team in Texas says you guys are starting to give smartphones to border crossers hoping they’ll use the phones to check in or to be tracked. Which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?”

Psaki brushed off those concerns and pointed to their focus on compliance. 

She replied:

“Well I think you of all people, since you’ve asked a range of questions about this topic over time, would recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track and we can check in with them.”

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has opted to bus immigrants to Washington, D.C., while they await processing.

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