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The Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Seamstress freed of GPS monitor

Immigrant was caught in raid

Norma Urbina, who was featured in a Globe article, had been forced to wear an ankle monitor for more than a year after being caught in a raid in New Bedford.

Steve Haines for The Boston Globe)

Norma Urbina, who was featured in a Globe article, had been forced to wear an ankle monitor for more than a year after being caught in a raid in New Bedford.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has removed an ankle monitor from a New Bedford seamstress forced to wear the device for more than a year as she battled deportation to Honduras, the Globe learned Monday.

“Thank God they took it off me,” said Norma Urbina, 40, an immigrant from Honduras who had worn the device since 2011, though she has no criminal record and said she has kept in regular touch with immigration since they arrested her and others in a March 2007 raid on a New Bedford defense contractor. Urbina was featured in a story in Sunday’s Globe.

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Urbina said BI Inc. in Burlington, a private company that supervises immigrants facing deportation for Immigration and Customs, removed the device on Friday but she did not alert the Globe until Monday.

Her lawyer, John Garan, said he hoped the agency would close Urbina’s case since she does not appear to match their top priorities, which are serious criminals and repeat violators of immigration law. He pointed out that she has four children; two are US citizens and the other two have temporary legal residency.

“It was great news for her,” Garan said Monday. “Hopefully there’ll be further breakthroughs on her immigration case.”

BI Inc., based in Boulder, Colo., was awarded a five-year contract worth $372.8 million in 2009 to supervise immigrants facing deportation. The company is a subsidiary of the Geo Group, which runs private prisons.

On Sunday, the Globe reported that immigrants under BI’s supervision were more likely to wear a GPS tracking device than criminals in the state and federal penal systems. Some 29 percent of the 21,000 immigrants in BI’s program nationwide wear GPS monitors. In comparison, federal judges ordered fewer than 1 percent of convicted criminals released on supervision to wear the monitors in the last year, according to the court system.

Maria Sacchetti can be reached at msacchetti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariasacchetti.
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