DENVER — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is testing a new surveillance device on immigrants in the Denver area, with plans to roll it out nationwide. But immigrant rights advocates told Denver7 that this latest expansion of ICE’s so-called alternatives to detention program is unnecessary, expensive and harmful.
The VeriWatch device looks similar to a smartwatch, but it can track a person’s location in real-time, scan their face and send and receive messages from ICE officers and case managers.
The device was created by BI Incorporated, a private monitoring technology company based in Gunbarrel, Colorado, just north of Boulder.
ICE announced the pilot program in late April, calling it a less obtrusive manner of increasing compliance for immigrants who are not detained while they move through the legal system.
Fifty people are currently wearing the watches in ICE’S Denver test group. None of them were in detention, and all were already showing up for their court hearings and meetings with officers, according to advocates familiar with the cases.
“This is not an alternative to detention. It’s actually an expansion of an invasive surveillance technology,” said Siena Mann, a campaign manager with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
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