The internet is flooding an anti-immigration hotline with calls about UFOs and Bigfoot
Something the Trump administration thought would be a good idea this week was to launch a special hotline just for people to call in and report crimes committed against them by undocumented immigrants (because generally, in the midst of a crime, we stop everything and ask the perpetrator for proof of his or her immigration status???).
The hotline is part of the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, and it’s problematic for a lot of obvious reasons. First, as stated above, how exactly is one supposed to know whether a criminal is undocumented? Second, people who are victims of crime should probably call the police, not a hotline that exists to field complaints about brown people. It’s racist and it’s fear-mongering, and luckily, the internet understood that and took matters into its own hands, like the internet tends to do.
“Wouldn’t it be a shame if millions of people called this hotline to report their encounters with aliens of the UFO-variety,” Twitter user Alexander McCoy wrote, garnering more than a thousand retweets. And boy did the internet come through on that idea.
Then they turned in on the president himself.
McCoy, the Marine Corps Veteran who sent out the original tweet, told Buzzfeed News he called the hotline Wednesday and was asked if he “was calling to report a crime committed by an illegal alien.”
“I said yes,” he wrote. “They asked if I had reported the crime to law enforcement. I said yes. They asked who the victim was. I said me. They said that they needed to collect my information and an ‘engagement officer’ would follow up with me about my story. And they asked me for my name, address and phone number. I gave them fake information.”
McCoy said he was then asked about the crime.
“I said I had been abducted by a UFO,” he wrote. “There was a long pause. I heard them do a big sigh. And they closed out the conversation saying that they’d make a note of it and I should wait for the DHS to investigate my report. And hung up on me.”
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials gave a frustrated-sounding statement to Buzzfeed about the prank calls, 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. We will adjust resources, if necessary, to ensure that the victims for whom this office and hotline is intended get the info and resources they need.”
Um, ICE, victims already have the resources they need: the police. Stop pretending this hotline is about resources and not cultivating racist fear of immigrants.