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          size="-2"><a class="domain reader-domain"
href="https://medium.com/nodigitalprisons/how-gps-is-playing-a-critical-role-for-ice-e86694d4f4d5">https://medium.com/nodigitalprisons/how-gps-is-playing-a-critical-role-for-ice-e86694d4f4d5</a></font>
        <h1 class="reader-title">How GPS is Playing a Critical Role for
          ICE</h1>
        August 30, 2019</div>
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                  <h2>James Kilgore interviews Daniel Gonzalez on the
                    ever-expanding electronic infrastructure used to
                    monitor migrants (Part One)</h2>
                  <p id="457f" data-selectable-paragraph=""><em>In
                      recent months ICE has been conducting a huge
                      number of raids, dragging people from their
                      families, often away from communities where they
                      have lived for many years. Part of the technology
                      involved in executing these raids has been the GPS
                      monitors that shackle more than 40,000 individuals
                      under the supervision of ICE. Our project, </em><a
                      href="https://www.challengingecarceration.org/"
                      target="_blank"><em>Challenging E-Carceration</em></a><em>
                      (part of the #NoDigitalPrisons campaign) has
                      sought to better understand how ICE is using these
                      GPS devices in their attacks on and management of
                      migrant bodies. Fortunately, we caught up with
                      scholar Daniel Gonzalez, who has been researching
                      all this for several years. Our project director,
                      James Kilgore, had a conversation with Daniel,
                      which we will be sharing in two parts. Here’s Part
                      One:</em></p>
                  <p id="40c4" data-selectable-paragraph=""><strong>James
                      Kilgore: In your writing you talk a lot about
                      borders. You seem to be saying that we often have
                      a simplistic understanding of what a border is in
                      the 21st century. Can you explain your
                      understanding of borders?</strong></p>
                  <p id="8d6e" data-selectable-paragraph=""><strong>Daniel
                      Gonzalez</strong>: For a long time we have equated
                    borders with walls and fences. I think this is a
                    mistake because it leads us to talk about who
                    belongs in the US in a very limited way. Moreover,
                    it distracts us from other border sites and
                    practices. For me, the border is the physical
                    structures that geographically demarcate a
                    nation-state <em>and</em> the personnel,
                    technologies, practices, and knowledge that enforce
                    immigration and trade policy. More specifically, I
                    focus on a database infrastructure called
                    Investigative Case Management (ICM) that connects
                    all these aspects. ICM — not a wall — is the current
                    border’s backbone.</p>
                  <p id="ff13" data-selectable-paragraph="">Looking at
                    this larger border infrastructure reveals the
                    border’s investment in managing people inside the
                    US. Reframing border practices in terms of interior
                    AND exterior management highlights the historic
                    relationship between border politics, racism, and
                    the US’ need for devalued labor. Borders aren’t
                    always about keeping certain people out; rather they
                    can also act as supply chains that funnel in and
                    then monitor a certain kind of (racialized and
                    right-less) labor. While ICM is new, the kind of
                    work the border does now isn’t. For example, <a
href="https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/mexico-immigrant-workers-jobs-americans-braceros-history-immigration-214784"
                      target="_blank">photos</a> from the 20th century <a
                      href="http://braceroarchive.org/about"
                      target="_blank">Bracero</a> program show the
                    US-Mexico border operating like a waiting line:
                    laborers were allowed in at certain times and under
                    specific, terminable conditions.</p>
                  <p id="3fdc" data-selectable-paragraph="">Even back
                    then migrant laborers were monitored and managed —
                    from the documentation they needed in order to work,
                    the border checkpoints they went through, and the
                    transportation to and from the worksite. At times,
                    they were even forced to live in labor camps.
                    However many migrants fought to improve their
                    conditions and found ways to integrate into US
                    society. The inability to permanently track and
                    manage these workers is one of the reasons why the
                    US government (despite resistance from the
                    agriculture industry) ended the program in the
                    mid-1960s. Now, however, the border can constantly
                    track migrants’ entire lives at home and work. This
                    ensures a precarious migrant labor force and
                    guarantees that migrants will be constantly
                    monitored and managed, limiting resistance and
                    migrants’ ability to improve their conditions. So,
                    if a migrant becomes disruptive or if their labor is
                    no longer needed, then they are easily deportable.
                    Historically, US borders have always been better at
                    monitoring migrants than they have been at denying
                    entry, and focusing on ICM allows us to see how US
                    border policy is currently creating and securing a
                    precarious labor force.</p>
                  <p id="0576" data-selectable-paragraph=""><strong>James:
                      I am especially interested in electronic
                      monitoring (EM). From my research, it seems that
                      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses EM
                      differently than law enforcement and the overall
                      criminal legal system. Most people under ICE’s
                      monitoring are not under house arrest, don’t pay
                      user fees and don’t report to a personal
                      supervisor like a probation officer. Even though
                      they are on GPS-enabled monitors that track their
                      location, they don’t seem to be punished for
                      traveling away from home. I am not implying that
                      the use of EM on migrants is not oppressive, but I
                      want to understand why it is different. Do you
                      have some ideas on this? I am especially
                      interested in the ways in which immigrants are
                      criminalized as a result of this practice.</strong></p>
                  <p id="217a" data-selectable-paragraph=""><strong>Daniel:</strong>
                    This is a question of “target population” and how
                    state institutions understand certain groups of
                    people. Departments of Corrections and pretrial
                    authorities employ EM to geographically contain
                    criminalized people: EM ties people to their houses,
                    severely and constantly limiting mobility. ICE, on
                    the other hand, has a different (but not unrelated)
                    goal — monitoring people’s mobility. DOC uses EM as
                    an extension of mass incarceration. But ICE doesn’t
                    want to completely incarcerate a cheap labor force —
                    it merely wants to keep labor cheap and precarious.</p>
                  <p id="eb28" data-selectable-paragraph="">ICE also
                    uses EM to monitor the area that a person is or is
                    not allowed to enter, but this monitoring usually
                    allows for greater mobility than monitoring under
                    DOC. The recent raids suggest that ICE also uses EM
                    to help track a person or group after it is
                    determined that they are disruptive, break the law,
                    use public institutions or services, or when their
                    labor is simply no longer needed. Then, ICE
                    intervenes, detains, and deports. Migrants already
                    enter the US labor force criminalized and with
                    limited rights, and ICE waits to capitalize on that
                    precarity.</p>
                  <blockquote>
                    <p>Migrants already enter the US labor force
                      criminalized and with limited rights, and ICE
                      waits to capitalize on that precarity.</p>
                  </blockquote>
                  <p id="c69f" data-selectable-paragraph=""><strong>James:
                      Earlier this month ICE raided seven workplaces in
                      Mississippi and took nearly 700 workers into
                      custody. A number of reports indicated that ICE
                      made use of GPS tracking of location to target
                      workers in the plant. Can you explain how that
                      might have worked and tell us whether this is
                      common practice?</strong></p>
                  <p id="cf59" data-selectable-paragraph=""><strong>Daniel:</strong>
                    Electronic monitoring is a GPS and data-collection
                    technology (often wearable) that records and sends a
                    person’s life-activity patterns — including
                    location-based data — to central
                    information-processing centers, like<a
href="https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/04/why-fusion-centers-matter-faq"
                      target="_blank"> DHS Fusion Centers</a>. In these
                    centers local, state, and federal agencies ensure
                    the coordination of information and plan action
                    across government institutions. ICE uses this
                    information to make operative decisions, such as
                    locating people who miss a routine check-in. In
                    large-scale raids, however, ICE already has a goal:
                    it is not just responding to a specific infraction;
                    ICE also uses EM data to plan the logistics of the
                    raid.</p>
                  <p id="457b" data-selectable-paragraph="">Considering
                    the frequency of these large-scale workplace raids
                    and the increase in funding DHS spends on these
                    surveillance and information technologies, I think
                    that GPS is playing a critical role for ICE and may
                    play an even larger role in the future. The
                    SmartLINK smartphone app that ICE in Miami is
                    currently using, for example, has taken EM to
                    another level by combining GPS and facial
                    recognition.</p>
                  <p id="5459" data-selectable-paragraph="">It’s also
                    important to keep in mind that the use of GPS to
                    monitor migrants in the workplace is not new. DHS
                    funding documents on prototypes from the early 2000s
                    indicate that employer information was also
                    networked into this migrant management system. These
                    prototypes integrated <a
                      href="https://www.ice.gov/video/championing-ice-community"
                      target="_blank">community-based support programs</a>
                    (noncitizen sponsorship) with EM and provided
                    ICE-contracted caseworkers with access to
                    workplaces, encouraging a conflation of interest
                    between ICE and employers.</p>
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                  <p id="5d36" data-selectable-paragraph=""><em>James
                      Kilgore is a Media Fellow at Media Justice. He
                      directs the Challenging E-Carceration project as
                      part of the #NoDigitalPrisons campaign and was a
                      2017 Soros Justice Fellow. He is the author of
                      five books, including the award-winning </em><a
                      href="https://thenewpress.com/books/understanding-mass-incarceration"
                      target="_blank"><em>Understanding Mass
                        Incarceration:A People’s Guide to the Key Civil
                        Rights Struggle of Our Time.</em></a><em> In his
                      community of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois he is
                      Co-Director of FirstFollowers Reentry Program.</em></p>
                  <p id="d2ad" data-selectable-paragraph=""><em>Daniel
                      Gonzalez is a PhD candidate in the Department of
                      Geography and Geographic Sciences at the
                      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His
                      research focuses on the science and technologies
                      of racial capitalism, particularly as they pertain
                      to regimes of US border enforcement and
                      immigration management.</em></p>
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