Biden admin gives illegal immigrants smartphones

"Which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?" Peter Doocy asked Jen Psaki.
Honduran immigrant talks on cell phone, 2018

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday confirmed that the Biden administration is giving technology such as smartphones to illegal immigrants to "check in" and "track" them as an "alternative" to detention. 

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki about reports from his colleagues in Texas that the administration is "starting to give smartphones to border crossers, hoping that they’ll use the phones to check in or to be tracked."

He asked, "Which part of that is supposed to deter people from crossing illegally into the states?"

Psaki responded that Doocy "of all people... would recognize that we need to take steps to ensure that we know where individuals are."

"The alternatives to detention programs — is what we utilize — has three unique forms of technology to monitor participants enrolled in the program," Psaki said, according to the White House transcript

"Telephonic, which is one of them, which is uses [sic] a participant’s voice to create a biometric voice print during the enrollment process.  And when the participant has a check-in call, their voice is compared to the voice print," Psaki said.

"SmartLink, which is another option, enables participant monitoring via smartphone or tablet using facial-matching technology to establish identity," she added.

The third option is GPS monitoring "using satellite technology through an ankle bracelet," Psaki said.

"This 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," the press secretary explained.

Doocy asked if it was a "concern" that the illegal immigrants "will take the phones and just toss them."

Psaki asked if there was a record of the phones being tossed, and Doocy reiterated the original question.

"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 — in hearings to determine whether or not they will be able to stay," she said.

Psaki stressed that the "vast, vast majority of people are appearing" for court hearings after being allowed into the United States, which she attributed to "these monitors and monitoring systems."