White House press secretary Jen Psaki, responding to questioning by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, confirmed that the Biden administration is handing out smartphones to illegal immigrants who cross the border.
“Our team in Texas is … saying that you guys are starting to give smartphones to border crossers, hoping that they’ll use the phones to check-in or to be tracked,” Doocy said. “Which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?”
Psaki stated that the idea is to use this “telephonic” method to “track” illegal immigrants as they await court proceedings.
“I think you of all people … would recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track — and we can check in with them,” she shot back.
Doocy was quick to point out that illegal immigrants are not bound to check in simply because they’re being handed smartphones when they cross the border.
“Any concern by folks around here that these migrants will take the phones and just toss them?” he asked.
Psaki suggested this wasn’t a concern, demanding proof that illegal immigrants are actively discarding their phones and roaming free throughout the country rather than being ‘tracked’ by the administration.
“Do you have a record of people throwing phones away?” she demanded, as if the onus of informing the people about government programs is not in her purview.
Psaki would continue to insist that the handing out of smartphones to illegal immigrants is a successful approach, and used a new Orwellian term for illegal immigration: “Irregularly migrate.”
“Our concern is ensuring that individuals who irregularly migrate to the United States proceed through our process of, you know, of course, being monitored, but also participating in hearings to determine whether or not they will be able to stay,” she explained.
The White House mouthpiece touted numbers to support her argument.
“I would note that nearly 80 percent of non-citizens released at the border from DHS custody under prosecutorial discretion have either received a notice to appear or are still within their window to report,” she claimed.
“So, actually, the vast, vast majority of people are appearing.”
In reality, 80% is a terrible number – leaving tens of thousands of people, at the very least, totally unaccounted for.
Border agents and officials are reportedly concerned about a looming “disaster” of an influx of illegal immigrants once Title 42 is lifted by the Biden administration in May, suggesting the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border could surge to 170,000 per month.
Citing Psaki’s numbers, 20% are currently not appearing for court dates. That would equate to 34,000 illegal immigrants not reporting after being released with their Biden smartphones starting next month.
Federal entities handing out free smartphones to illegal immigrants is not new to the Biden administration, however.
A Google search shows reports about such a program going back to at least as early as 2016 during the Obama administration.
The LA Times reported In February 2016:
“A federal government contractor is issuing smartphones to immigrant families released from two massive Texas detention centers as a way to ensure that they are able to contact case managers and reach their U.S. destinations.
“Officials described the phones as part of a less-restrictive alternative to detention programs designed to make sure that low-risk immigrant families with pending cases show up for court.”
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) criticized the Biden administration for handing out “free phones” to illegal immigrants.
Hawley, in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, also addressed reports the Biden administration is considering pulling medical resources from veterans to provide COVID vaccines to illegal immigrants.
“I am particularly alarmed at new reports suggesting that DHS plans to divert doctors from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide free medical resources to those crossing our border illegally,” Hawley wrote.
The Biden administration isn’t trying to deter anybody from crossing the border illegally, in fact, they are enticing them to do so.
Psaki points out that the White House, in addition to the smartphones for illegal immigrants, is implementing two other methods of tracking those coming across the border, including a Smartlink app and Global Positioning System monitoring.
Of note for everyone, not just illegal immigrants, Psaki also spoke of a government monitoring program that verifies identities by their voice:
“The Alternatives to Detention Program, which is what we utilize, has three unique forms of technology to monitor participants enrolled in the program. Telephonic is one of them, which uses a participant’s voice to create a biometric voiceprint during the enrollment process. And when the participant has a check-in call, their voice is compared to the voiceprint.”
Such a program, if not already in use in other areas, surely will be in the future.
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