McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — An expedited removal pilot program that began on the Southwest border when Title 42 was lifted and imposes curfews for some asylum-seekers is being expanded, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced.
The Family Expedited Removal Management (FERM) process is now being expanded to cities “nationwide,” an ICE spokesperson told Border Report on Monday.
The controversial program was first announced in 2022 and was implemented on May 10 — the day before Title 42 was lifted on the border. That public health order had prevented migrants from claiming asylum at the U.S. border to limit the spread of COVID-19.
As the Department of Homeland Security replaced Title 42 with Title 8 regulations — which require asylum-seekers to schedule interviews via the CBP One app, and to claim asylum in other countries they arrived in after leaving their homelands — this new program was put into effect to deter irregular immigration on the border and as a way to track migrant families who cross illegally, the agency said.
Certain heads of households put in FERM are tracked via Alternatives to Detention devices — such as the SmartLINK app, telephonic reporting or GPS ankle monitors. In addition, they have mandatory home curfews from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
The program initially began in four cities, but now is “across the country” and also is a way to track and screen families via credible fear interviews and to quickly deport those who are deemed ineligible to stay in the country, the agency says.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to imposing immigration consequences in a safe and humane manner to those who fail to use available lawful pathways and unlawfully enter the United States,” the agency said in a statement.
The program has expanded to these cities: Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; San Diego; San Francisco and San Jose, California, New Orleans and Houston, The Associated Press reports.
The monitored supervision allows asylum-seeking families who are put in the program to stay out of detention facilities, which lowers federal costs.
Border Report previously reported that the cost to monitor a migrant in ATD is less than $5 per day compared to $125 per day in a detention facility.
As of July 30, there were over 30,400 migrants held in ICE detention facilities, while nearly 200,000 migrants were being monitored by the ATD program, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of Syracuse University.
Those who do not qualify to stay are often put on what’s called ICE flights and deported back to their countries or other countries that will accept them.