HARLINGEN, Texas (Border Report) — A controversial monitoring program for asylum-seekers who are released in the United States was set to end Thursday to new enrollees after a federal court ruled it illegal.
A federal judge in Florida on March 8 ruled the Biden administration’s Alternatives to Detention program violated U.S. immigration laws by releasing asylum-seekers rather than detaining them. U.S. District Judge Kent Wetherell of the Northern District of Florida Pensacola Division had given the administration seven days to appeal his ruling, which expired on Thursday.
Border Report has asked officials with the Department of Homeland Security if they have asked for an extension or filed an appeal to continue adding people to the program. This story will be updated if the information is received.
But new data released by U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement, which administers the program, show a significant drop in asylum-seekers in the program since late February.
As of March 11, ICE reports there were 287,299 asylum seekers in the ATD program, down from 293,167 in the program as of Feb. 25, according to data from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), of Syracuse University, which tracks all U.S. immigration court cases.
A comparison of the data found a drop in asylum-seekers in every component of the ATD program — which includes GPS ankle monitors; SmartLINK app monitors; telephonic reporting and those without technology devices. There were 259,157 people enrolled in ATD and reporting via the SmartLINK app; That dropped to 255,615 by March 11. The number of telephonic reporting fell by 568; and there was a drop of 259 in the number of people on GPS ankle monitors.
Democratic lawmakers have been asking the Biden administration for less-intrusive asylum case management programs, like the Case Management Pilot Program, which DHS now says on its website will supplement ATD programs.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com