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Canada to use voice recognition, monitoring technology to keep migrants out of detention

A group of asylum seekers cross the Canadian border at Champlain, N.Y., Friday, August 4, 2017. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, long an outspoken champion of Canada's reputation for welcoming newcomers, added a bracing dose of reality Friday as he urged would-be migrants to respect the country's border with the United States.
A group of asylum seekers cross the Canadian border at Champlain, N.Y., Friday, August 4, 2017. Canada has a new plan to find alternatives to jailing newcomers to Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The federal government plans to rely on electronic monitoring, telephone reporting and community supervision to avoid locking up migrants while they await immigration hearings.

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The government has spelled out details of how it will try to find alternatives to jailing newcomers to Canada, including use of voice recognition and monitoring technology to track people released in the community.

The $138-million overhaul is intended to ensure detention is a last resort.

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The Canada Border Services Agency detains thousands of new arrivals who are considered a flight risk or a danger to the public and those whose identities cannot be confirmed.

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The Canadian Red Cross Society has found numerous shortcomings at facilities for immigrant detainees, including overcrowding and lack of mental health care.

Prior to Tuesday’s federal announcement, the only way a migrant could be released from detention was if they posted a financial guarantee and agreed to conditions.

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