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Recently there has been a spike in the number of detentions and asylum applicants in the US which has led to growth in the need for AIDPs (Alternatives to Detention Programs). Due to a lack of adequate detention facilities, the DRO (Office of Detention and Removal Operations) needed a more consistent national policy about the implementation of different options to the traditional detention center. The ISAP program (Intensive Supervision of Appearance Program) was introduced as an alternative to conventional detention methods.

ISAP as a Cost-Effective Solution

ISAP or the Intensive Supervision of Appearance Program is a system that allows immigrants who have been released from detention to be carefully monitored. The purpose of the system is to reduce the number of people held in detention and put more emphasis on immigrants staying in their family home. At the same time, they are awaiting judgment on their deportation proceedings. ICE and the DJ realize that a deportation proceeding can take several years. An immigrant staying in their own home is a far more cost-effective option for detention.

Not only are AIDPs more cost-effective than standard detention measures, but they are also far more humane. Figures released indicate that it would cost only $210 million to monitor the 120 ADT(Alternatives to Detention) participants, on the other hand, it would cost 2.7 billion to create an additional 57,000 new beds to accommodate the new detainees.

ISAP Requires Immigrant Co-operation

The whole ISAP program is dependent upon the cooperation of the immigrants. Still, there are other AIDPs, such as using biometric tech and facial recognition software to monitor and track participants. This technology looks like it is in the pipeline. Typically, immigrants on ISAP are people who have entered the US seeking asylum, and many are female. Instead of putting women in detention, they are released after a GPS tracking device attached to their ankle. They have to make regular weekly calls to ISAP officials at a specific time and have to be at home to receive the call. They will also have to make a monthly in-person visit to the ISAP. In some cases, they are subject to a curfew. The most common complaint you hear from ISAP participants is that the ankle bracelet is a bit uncomfortable and embarrassing.

ISAP Underfunded

The whole ISAP program is not a very well managed program. Too many immigrants either go unmonitored or violate the terms of the program and end up having to be rearrested by ICE agents. ICE historically took little or no action against these people due to them being both underfunded and overtaxed with work they are needed to do elsewhere. Overworked and underfunded ICE field agents report that they had little interest in maintaining the program, as they don’t see it as their job to arrest these individuals, as in most cases they are just retagged and released.

If you find yourself subject to the ISAP program, you should consult an immigration attorney. Once you have filed an asylum application and handed in your passport, a hearing should be scheduled, and your attorney should be able to submit a request with ICE to have your ISAP monitoring lifted. These applications have traditionally been successfully received.


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