Carolina Sanchez Boe

Grant Type

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Aarhus U.

Grant number

Gr. 10642

Approve Date

October 12, 2023

Project Title

Boe, Carolina (Aarhus U.) "Digital Detention Electronic Monitoring of Asylum Seekers in the USA"

Once asylum seekers cross the border into the USA, most are detained for weeks, months or years by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Besides the 30,000 detention beds that makes the USA the country with the largest immigrant detention in the world, over 300,000 immigrants and asylum-seekers are monitored on any given day by ICE through devices combining GPS tracking with ankle monitors, voiceprint verification or facial recognition app SmartLINK®, creating a parallel system of digital detention. The film builds on a collaborative audiovisual project carried out with monitored asylum seekers and the lawyers and community activists who assist them through their asylum process in Austin, Texas. Through the experiences of digital confinement which asylum seekers share, we understand how electronic monitoring contributes to spread surveillance into immigrant communities, homes and workplaces, while guaranteeing major revenues for the for-profit prison company that manages both detention facilities and their so-called alternatives. These technologies, which originated in the US criminal system, are additions – not alternatives – to detention. Confinement and migration control are often laboratories for what is to come later for the general population, and the film shows how these extractive for-profit models of surveillance capitalism concerns us all.