When we discussed the highly successful ICE raids in Mississippi targeting employers hiring hundreds of illegal aliens earlier this month, one little detail seemed to catch a lot of people by surprise. It turns out that a number of the illegal workers were wearing ICE ankle bracelet monitors to their jobs every day. As far as I was concerned, that should have been enough to lock up some of those employers and their senior staff. Let’s just say that if you couldn’t figure out that the person wearing the ICE ankle bracelet might have been lying on their job application forms, perhaps a career in Human Resources isn’t for you.
As it turns out, those bits of ankle jewelry were more than decorative. In details about the raids released after the fact, we learned that the agency had been using the monitors and the GPS system to track when the workers were leaving their homes, traveling to their jobs and generally tracking their other movements. Can you imagine? I know, right?
This week, NBC News was doing some followup coverage on the raids and talked to several immigration advocates who were apparently unaware that this sort of thing was going on. And it’s apparently “disturbing” that the government would track these upstanding workers like common criminals.
Unsealed search warrants from the raid reveal that immigration authorities have tracked such GPS data from dozens of undocumented immigrants with ankle monitors.
Lawyers and immigration advocates told NBC News they had not previously heard of ICE employing this tactic, which they called “troubling” and said raised concerns about immigrants’ rights.
“It’s troubling to us that people who are released are being tracked for reasons that have nothing to do with whether they’re likely to appear for their court cases or abscond,” said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
In other words, they find it both shocking and appalling that a law enforcement agency is making use of location monitors to monitor people’s locations. I’ll give you all a moment to safely reach your fainting couches.
These ankle bracelet monitors are used for more than simply making sure you show up for your court date. (Though that’s certainly one intent.) The fact that the workers in question were wearing them at all showed that they had already run afoul of ICE, were in the country illegally and were awaiting their court date. It also means that they were not legally able to take a job in the United States. So when they began showing up at food processing plants every day for the duration of a normal work shift, the agency could be pretty sure something illegal was going on.
Further, workers with ankle bracelets were tracked to plants owned by all five of the employers who wound up getting caught up in the raids. And nobody said anything? I don’t know if the employers need to be charged with immigration crimes or simply abject stupidity.
But still, the point remains. The illegal aliens knew they were not allowed to hold those jobs. The agency put tracking devices on them revealing that they were still breaking the law. There is nothing “troubling” about any of this. These are basic tools of law enforcement, not some invasion of privacy for the illegal workers.