President Donald Trump has reiterated his long-held campaign promise to prioritize the removal of as many undocumented immigrants from the United States as legally possible.
Particularly, he has said, those who have committed crimes. In keeping with the promise, the Trump administration created the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office to offer services to American citizens and their families who are victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. The office is under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which also oversees the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.
What is the VOICE programWhat is the VOICE program, and what does it mean for undocumented immigrants in the United States?
As part of the program, there is a telephone hotline that victims or their families can call to receive information about the undocumented immigrant that committed the crime against them. The hotline is not designed to report crimes, or suspicions of someone living in the United States illegally, a DHS official told CGTN.
The concern, however, among some critics is that the VOICE program, along with the phone hotline, will be used to track people who are living in the United States illegally.
“VOICE does not inquire as to a person’s immigration status, and callers are able to remain anonymous should they wish to do so,” Bryan Cox, a spokesman at ICE told CGTN. “VOICE provides public information, it is not a means to report suspected illegal activity. Anyone who calls the VOICE line attempting to report criminal activity would be referred to the ICE tip line, which exists for that purpose. The VOICE line exists for victims,” Cox said.
Undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the United States have caused a “burden” to U.S. cities, Trump has said.
“We’ve gotten tremendous criminals out of this country,” Trump said during a recent interview. “I’m talking about illegal immigrants that were here that caused tremendous crime…they’re getting the hell out or they’re going to prison.”
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