ICE Immigration Victims Office (VOICE) Warning!
On April 26, 2017, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly announced the official launch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE).
ICE is charged with a mission to identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts. ICE VOICE office is assigned to assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.
While there is no doubt that any victim of crime deserves acknowledgement and sympathy, data show that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, are less likely than native born Americans to commit crimes. The Victim Immigration Notification Exchange (VINE) web-based notifications system will send information to registrants who have been affected by crimes committed by removable individuals in ICE custody, only.
Although ICE has said that they will not ask about a victim’s immigration status when a person calls VOICE, immigrant communities fear that the information they provide will be used against them or their families. Immigrant advocates point to the recent arrest of a domestic violence victim at a courthouse and a growing reluctance to report sexual assaults out of fear of triggering deportation as evidence that VOICE may exacerbate tensions, not minimize them. Concerns by victims of their status if they reach out to ICE are heightened following unprecedented immigration enforcement actions under the Trump administration.