ICE: Our VOICE Hotline ‘Was Not Disrupted’ By Calls About Real Aliens

Efrain Iniguez, an illegal immigrant from Tecate, Mexico, holds an alien doll and wears a t-shirt that reads "I do not want to be an alien. I want to be legal" on Wednesday, May 1, 2008 in Los Angeles, Calif. Thousan... Efrain Iniguez, an illegal immigrant from Tecate, Mexico, holds an alien doll and wears a t-shirt that reads "I do not want to be an alien. I want to be legal" on Wednesday, May 1, 2008 in Los Angeles, Calif. Thousands of chanting, flag-waving immigrants and activists rallied in cities across the country Thursday, attempting to reinvigorate calls for immigration reform in a presidential election year in which the economy has taken center stage. (AP Photo/Hector Mata) MORE LESS
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April 27, 2017 1:29 p.m.
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement denied Thursday that a reported wave of prank calls to a hotline for the victims of undocumented immigrant crime had disrupted the hotline.

That hotline, launched Wednesday by the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement office, established via a presidential executive order, is meant as central governmental resource for the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

Pretty much as soon as the line — 1-855-48-VOICE — went live, though, people began calling with reports of real aliens.

“The VOICE line remains in operation and was not disrupted,” ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox told TPM in an email, referring to “prank call reports.”

“As yesterday was its first day, I can’t give you any sense of whether this group had any impact at all on wait times or call volume because there’s no prior data to compare,” he added.

An agency spokesperson issued a similar confirmation of prank call activity to BuzzFeed on Wednesday, saying, “There are certainly more constructive ways to make one’s opinions heard than to prevent legitimate victims of crime from receiving the information and resources they seek because the lines are tied up by hoax callers.”

Trump announced the VOICE office in his address to a joint session of Congress in late February, saying, “We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests.”

Cox told TPM in the same email that he did not have an anticipated date for the release of VOICE’s first report on “the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States,” as specified in the executive order establishing the office.

That same executive order has run into some trouble recently: On Tuesday, a judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against one section in it threatening so-called “sanctuary cities” with the withdrawal of federal funds.

And, earlier this month, ICE temporarily ceased publication of an error-prone weekly report, also authorized by the order, on localities that refused to cooperate with its detainer requests for suspected undocumented immigrants.

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