Undocumented Immigrants Are Tethered to ICE and Private Companies

A handful of companies are making millions off of ankle monitors strapped to undocumented immigrants in ICE custody. The makers pitch the monitors as an alternative to being jailed, but are they simply another form of bondage? Reporter Ryan Katz looks at what life is life while wearing one of these monitors. He untangles the complicated web of ICE, immigration bail agent companies, and the attorneys fighting them.

70 Million is made possible by a grant from the Safety and Justice Challenge at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The 70 Million podcast is a production of Lantigua Williams & Co.

TRANSCRIPT

Montage: “Here I am with the judges and attorneys and, you know, police officers…”

“You can have the most beautiful resume and they’re still going to label you as a felon.”

“I wanted to be able to, to dig in, roll up my sleeves and figure out what could be done about this issue.”

“You’re not letting us be human, like, you’re not letting us just be regular girls.”

“For 20 years all I heard was shut up inmate. And now all of a sudden I have a voice.”

Ryan Katz: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, is the federal government agency tasked with enforcing the country’s immigration laws. When ICE tries to deport a person without legal status, often it puts them in so-called “detention centers.” These are jail-like facilities located throughout the country. ICE says that in order to get undocumented folks to show up for their court dates, it needs to incarcerate them. But ever since detention expanded in the 90s, immigrants have complained of the poor conditions inside.

I’m driving to a park in Lodi, CA, a town of about 60,000, an hour south of the…

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