Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Immigration and Ankle Bracelets

Is it spring yet? Back in January the Department of Homeland Security let slip a little tidbit involving using RFID tags as a trial method of immigration control/tracking. Tag 'Em and Bag 'Em immigration. The trials weren't supposed to start til this spring and continue thru July. Somebody forgot to read that memo.

Electronic Anklets Track Asylum Seekers in U.S.
Morning Edition, March 2, 2005 · The Department of Homeland Security is experimenting with a controversial new method to keep better track of immigrants who are applying to remain in the United States. It is requiring aliens in eight cities to wear electronic monitors 24 hours a day.

The ankle bracelets are the same monitors that some rapists and other convicted criminals have to wear on parole. But the government's pilot project is putting monitors on aliens who have never been accused of a crime.

So far, the Department of Homeland Security has put electronic monitors on more than 1,700 immigrants. Victor Cerda, director of Detention and Removal Operations at Homeland Security, says the anklets will help prevent tens of thousands of immigrants who are ordered to leave the country each year from "absconding" -- going into hiding to avoid deportation.

But critics say Cerda and other Homeland Security officials have exaggerated the extent of the problem. They point to a Justice Department study that put part of the blame on immigration officials, saying they'd failed to keep adequate records to track aliens.

Are the anklets removable? And if they aren't, exactly what is the justification for treating immigrants like convicts?

While monitoring a few tags on a screen may seem easier and more cost effective now
what happens when everyone coming into the country is tagged, and the "wrong" people that are already citizens are tagged, and students are tagged? How many people will it take to monitor all the tags? And when it becomes millions of people being tracked every day, every hour how cost effective will that be? And who will be watching?

Every step you take, every move you make

InCom kills deal to require students to wear RFID tags

Counterpoint: Curb The RFID Secrecy

Business, government using more radio tags