By executive order President Trump recently directed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to set-up an information clearing hotline to gather and compile and publish information about crimes committed by “criminal aliens.” Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office […] aims to “assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.
“Alien” is a term used by the federal government to describe individuals who are not American citizens but who reside on U.S. soil.
There have been efforts in the courts and Congress to curtail the use of the terms “alien and “criminal alien,” but that was well before Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to power and started their immigration-ban round-ups.
Those in charge of operating VOICE may wish they had used a different term. The hotline has been flooded with calls prompted by twitter users to report everything from “ETs, UFOs” to “muggle-borns” (wizards and witches born to parents without magical powers) from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. As you can imagine this pranksterism leaves immigration enforcers cold: “Their [the pranksters’] actions seek to obstruct and do harm to crime victims; that’s objectively despicable regardless of one’s views on immigration policy,” an ICE official said.
According to the fact-checking and urban myth-debunking website Snopes:
The hotline’s website states that it is not intended to report crime, but rather to “ensure victims and their families have access to releasable information about a perpetrator and to offer assistance explaining the immigration removal process.” It did not elaborate on how this would help the victims of crimes.
However ICE isn’t just about hotlines and lists. The agency has contracted GEO Group to start building a detention facility in Texas for $110 million. GEO, the country’s largest for-profit prison corporation has had a long-standing private-public partnership with ICE since the 1980’s. And they have soaring expectation for profit: The 1,000-bed Facility is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is expected to generate approximately $44 million in annualized revenues and returns on investment consistent with GEO’s company-owned facilities.
ICE may not have a sense of humor but they are helping GEO Group prison corporation and their shareholders laugh all the way to the bank.