Thanks to a program called VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement), ordinary Americans can turn in anyone they think might be here illegally. It’s a very successful program. Recent logs obtained by the Website Splinter show hundreds of “illegals” have been snatched up and deported thanks to calls by Americans.
Whatever you think about immigration, ask yourselves, does this not sound a tad…well…..a tad like a police state, where every neighbor is a potential government informant ready to drop the dime on someone they THINK might be here illegally?
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In April, the Trump Administration launched what it called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline, with a stated mission to “provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens.” But internal logs of calls to VOICE obtained by Splinter show that hundreds of Americans seized on the hotline to lodge secret accusations against acquaintances, neighbors, or even their own family members, often to advance petty personal grievances.
The logs—hundreds of which were available for download on the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement web site despite containing extremely sensitive personal information—call to mind the efforts of closed societies like East Germany or Cuba to cultivate vast networks of informants and an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.
The reports rarely involve the sort of dangerous criminality that Donald Trump campaigned against. Despite the VOICE office’s statement that the service “is not a hotline to report crime,” callers are using it to alert Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to minor infractions, or merely to the presence of people they suspect of being undocumented immigrants.
On many of the calls, the only violation the informant offers the authority is that the people exist. On June 19, a caller filed the following report:
Caller wanted to report his next door neighbor. Caller claims his next door neighbors are undocumented and are from South America. Caller claims two boys’ ages 14 and 15 reside there along with an adult male. Caller provided his next door neighbor’s address as [street and number redacted by Splinter], St. Augustine, FL [ZIP code redacted by Splinter].