Immigration’s Computer System Emerging From ‘Stone Age’
Reported by Stew Magnuson and Breanne Wagner
Non-Mexican illegal immigrants nabbed at the border spend about 30 days in detention, but Department of Homeland Security officials hope to whittle that time in half with more efficient computer programs.
DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is in the process of acquiring new computer systems that will allow it to process immigrants within 15 days, said John Torres, director of the office of detention and removal at ICE. “We’re moving from the stone ages to modern technology.”
The updated case management software will replace a 25-year-old disk operating system, Torres explained at a National Defense Industrial Association homeland security conference. The outdated system required personnel to obtain specific design code from the contractor, which significantly slowed investigations.
The software will provide real-time information and situational awareness to allow personnel to locate immigrants in custody, as well as ICE assets, like buses, airplanes and detention facilities, Torres said.
For example, if officials estimate that 1,000 arrests will be made in one particular day, they can look at a computer screen to track the availability of the agency’s aircraft and buses using the Global Positioning System, he explained. They can also keep tabs on free bed space to know where to house detainees.
“Managers will know who they have in custody, who’s coming into custody, where they’re going at any given moment … as opposed to looking at old data that may be 30, 60, 90 days old,” Torres said. Plans call for the software to be set up by January, he said.