On Wednesday, the White House confirmed that President Joe Biden’s administration is giving smartphones to illegal immigrants as part of an alleged effort to “track” and “check in” with them prior to immigration court proceedings.
When Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki about the effort, Psaki said the administration needs “to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are and we can track and we can check in with them.”
“The Alternatives to Detention Program, which is what we utilize, has three unique forms of technology to monitor participants enrolled in the program,” Psaki said. “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.”
“Smartlink, which is another option, enables participant monitoring via smartphone or tablet using facial matching technology to establish identity,” Psaki continued, adding that smartphone distribution “is all part of our effort as individuals come into the United States and individuals who are entering who will proceed to immigration proceedings to monitor and track where they are.”
Psaki claimed the program is producing the desired results, with the “vast, vast majority of people” appearing on time for hearings.
Doocy questioned whether the administration was concerned that illegal immigrants could just “toss” the cell phones after they’re released.
“Do you have a record of people throwing phones away?” Psaki asked
“I’m just asking if that’s a concern,” Doocy pressed.
“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,” Psaki said.
Psaki again asserted that the “vast, vast majority of people are appearing in part, we have these monitors, monitoring systems in order to do that effectively.”
Also on Wednesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding information about “reports that DHS plans to provide migrants with free phones.”
“These reports demand answers,” Hawley said, according to the letter obtained by Fox News Digital.
The GOP senator highlighted that U.S. Customs and Border Protection “reported over two million encounters with aliens illegally crossing the southern border” last year, noting that it is “the highest number ever recorded.”