When Donald Trump approved a new immigration crime hotline via executive order back in January, it’s unlikely that he intended it to be used to report X-Files-like encounters. Unfortunately for the new POTUS, that’s precisely what has happened with his new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline. As one of Trump’s first acts as president, on January 25 he signed the executive order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” which specifically called for a way for victims of immigrant crime to be able to report their victimization and easily follow the case through to its conclusion – up to and including deportation.
Victims of immigrant crime are now invited to call 1-855-48-VOICE to let the government (and presumably Donald Trump) know about their experience, as well as access additional resources and services. The phone number was officially launched on Wednesday, with the express mission statement of being available to “serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been impacted by crimes committed by removable criminal aliens.”
Unfortunately for Donald Trump and his new hotline, as BBC reports, not everybody defines “criminal aliens” precisely the same way. Almost immediately after the new VOICE hotline opened for business, it began to be inundated by reports of criminal alien encounters of the third (or forth) kind.
Apparently, a whole bunch of Twitter users’ minds turned to thoughts of little green men, flying saucers and Fire in the Sky when they though of the term “criminal alien,” not non-citizens who commit (or have been convicted of) a crime in the U.S. Immediately after the launch of the new immigrant crime hotline was made, many folks took to Twitter to forewarn others about the many things that the new Trump resource should not be used for.
The # for Trump's hotline to report "criminal aliens" is 855-48-VOICE— HAUNTED APPLEBEE'S (@dubsteppenwolf) April 27, 2017
Please do not call this number to describe plots of X-Files episodes.
Other observant social media mavens noted that Donald Trump and his White House team had chosen a confusingly apt day to roll out their “criminal alien” reporting hotline. Especially when the term can obviously mean more than one thing. So what was so special about Wednesday that it might add to the confusion about the VOICE hotline? It was “Alien Day,” an annual promotion for the Alien film franchise. It’s unclear which member of the Trump transition team was behind that little scheduling nightmare.
So, they introduced the alien hotline on Alien day. I hope Sigourney Weaver called.— Darth Hobo (@GPappalardo) April 27, 2017
It didn’t take long for folks to take to Twitter with their hopes and dreams for the new Donald Trump immigrant crime hotline, including what they were going to report when they called (or what they hoped others might report).
I especially like the calls that report the orange-faced, toupee wearing alien who is ripping us off every day in... https://t.co/pzV2OltjJp— gbingram (@gbingram) April 27, 2017
While the use of the newly implemented (and presumably not cheap) VOICE hotline has clearly already inspired and amused a ton of social media users, not everybody’s happy about the fun-poking that’s been going on. According to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the people who were in mind when the new immigrant crime hotline was created were “unique” and “often ignored” crime victims.
“They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place. Because the people who victimized them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.”
1-855-48-VOICE anti alien hotline - hi is it illegal to lie on immigration documents? Yes. Melania Trump lied on her docs.— unrealdonaldtrump (@JAILTHETRAITORS) April 27, 2017
@Scott_Wiener What's the best hashtag for this nightmare?— PastTheTunnel (@PastTheTunnel) April 27, 2017
@ALT_uscis Hey! Little green men performing felonious anal probes is NOT a laughing matter.— Saill White (@saill) April 27, 2017
Of course, during his roll-out, Kelly spoke only of immigrants, never of “aliens.” Therein appears to lie the confusion, be it real or tongue-in-cheek. Now, while US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hasn’t specifically detailed how many people have called in ET-related “crimes” to the new Trump hotline, spokespeople for the agency are letting on that the number of faux calls are causing problems (perhaps bogging down) the new service.
“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.”
Many Twitter users reported their efforts to report their “alien crime” to the new hotline, and of those, more than a handful also reported that they had to wait quite some time to get through to the newly rolled-out service.
update on the new @dhsgov VOICE immigration crime victims hotline: The wait time is 20 minutes.— ALT???? Immigration (@ALT_uscis) April 26, 2017
Donald Trump first made waves with his immigration views while on the campaign trail. That’s when he suggested that immigrants (at least Mexican immigrants) were ” criminals” and “rapists.” His followers largely bought into his propaganda, and he rose to an unexpected White House win largely by focusing on curtailing immigration and building a wall along America’s southern border.
According to the new Trump administration, his newly-enacted (and apparently fairly slow) immigrant crime hotline will ensure that victims of immigrant crime are kept updated throughout the criminal process. This despite numerous studies that have indicated that immigrants commit crimes and are jailed at a lower rate than natural-born American citizens.
What are your thoughts on the new VOICE system? Do you think that prank ET calls are an appropriate form of protest? Do you think that the Donald Trump immigrant crime hotline will make anybody safer? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by lassedesignen/Shutterstock]