GPS ankle monitors for unauthorized immigrants part of federal crackdown, attorney says

Attorney: More 'aggressive' enforcement underway
Posted at 10:50 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 11:44:20-04

A Lorain County mother of four said she was forced to wear a GPS ankle monitor or face deportation to Mexico. Now, News 5 has learned the order could be part of a wider crackdown on illegal immigration by the Trump administration.

Anabel Sanchez, 36, has four American-born children. Sanchez said her parents brought her to the United States illegally at age 16. That put her just out of reach to qualify for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which grants immunity to children 15 years or younger who were brought the U.S. illegally by their parents.

While she’s been on the government’s radar for years, with no criminal record, she said agents more-or-less left her alone. That was until March when she said she was ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor or get deported.

“I feel like a criminal,” Sanchez told News 5 on Monday. "If they put this on me to make me feel criminal, they did a very good job because I do feel like a criminal.”

It’s part of the Alternative to Detention Program and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman told News 5 it "allows ICE to manage individuals who may pose a flight risk, but for whom detention may not be the most appropriate option given their unique circumstances.”

Cleveland immigration lawyer Richard Herman said the program was first implemented under President Obama but is now escalating under President Trump.

“Trump’s new executive orders pretty much obliterate what Obama had done, which was to set in place some priorities for who we should go after,” Herman said. “Now we’re seeing more and more aggressive behavior by ICE to not only use the monitors, but to detain and deport.”

But proponents of tougher enforcement argue, even though some unauthorized immigrants like Sanchez are not committing crimes, they’re still breaking the law by living in the country illegally.

“That’s certainly true, but the penalty should be commensurate with the infraction,” Herman said. "Again, it’s a civil infraction.”

Sanchez, who said she applied for a green card years ago, but got no response, is now fighting to keep her family together in the U.S. and not Mexico.

“I love my country too, but I don’t see a future for them,” she said, referring to her children. "They don’t even speak Spanish.”