Ann Elise McCaffrey, Esq.

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Ankle Monitors: the New Form of Detention

An average daily population of 78,000 people on ankle monitors in the immigration system brings new questions about what purpose ankle monitors and other forms of ICE supervision serve. For starters, the use of ankle monitors and other supervision requirements, like home curfews, weekly check-ins and telephone calls to verify your location, do impose burdens. The scholar and critic of mass incarceration, Michelle Alexander, points to the restraints on liberty and livelihood that ankle monitors cause in her recent New York Times opinion, “The Newest Jim Crow, Recent criminal justice reforms contain the seeds of a frightening system of “e-carceration,” November 8th, 2018. Article here

Immigration detention has been moving towards this form of “e-detention” for quite some time, since about 2004. The greatly expanded numbers of people wearing ankle monitors and under the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP) require new tactics to challenge this form of detention.

The Board of Immigration Appeals said that ankle monitors do not constitute a form of ‘custody',’ and thereby limited someone’s right to seek release from the imposition of an ankle monitor. However, if you take action quickly, you can still keep yourself from the worst of the ISAP system. If you are released from immigration detention with an ankle monitor, you can file a request within 7 days to an immigration judge to remove the ankle monitor and reduce the supervision requirements. The most restrictive types of ISAP supervision will keep you from maintaining a full-time job, impact your health and make it hard for you to do daily activities like drive and sleep because of the need to constantly charge the ankle monitor. Contact my office if you would like to consider filing a motion before the immigration judge to reduce your supervision requirements.

If you have already missed the 7-day window for filing a motion with the immigration judge, there are still options to try to reduce the supervision requirements in your case and get the ankle monitor off of your leg. This takes a long time and will require that you first comply with all the supervision requirements, but it can be done.

Please contact my office for a consultation if you have an ankle monitor and would like more information.

Elise McCaffrey