DHS Orders Creation of VOICE Office to Help Victims of Criminal Aliens
John Roberts reported this morning on the Department of Homeland Security's new initiatives to crack down on illegal immigration and step up enforcement efforts.
Among the enforcement guidelines, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called for the establishment of an office within ICE that will act as a liaison with "known victims of crimes committed by removable aliens."
The memo directs ICE to reallocate resources away from advocacy on behalf of illegal immigrants and use those resources for the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office.
Kelly stated in the memo that victims of criminal aliens often do not receive information about the offender, his or her immigration status or previous enforcement action.
The memo reads:
Criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents. Often, these victims are not provided adequate information about the offender, the offender's immigration status, or any enforcement action taken by ICE against the offender. Efforts by ICE to engage these victims have been hampered by prior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy extending certain Privacy Act protections to persons other than U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, leaving victims feeling marginalized and without a voice.
Accordingly, I am establishing the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office within the Office of the Director of ICE, which will create a programmatic liaison between ICE and the known victims of crimes committed by removable aliens. The liaison will facilitate engagement with the victims and their families to ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that they are provided information about the offender, including the offender's immigration status and custody status, and that their questions and concerns regarding immigration enforcement efforts are addressed.
To that end, I direct the Director of ICE to immediately reallocate any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens (except as necessary to comply with a judicial order) to the new VOICE Office, and to immediately terminate the provision of such outreach or advocacy services to illegal aliens. Nothing herein may be construed to authorize disclosures that are prohibited by law or may relate to information that is Classified, Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU), Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES), For Official Use Only (FOUO), or similarly designated information that may relate to national security, law enforcement, or intelligence programs or operations, or disclosures that are reasonably likely to cause harm to any person.
In addition, the memos lay out a range of initiatives aimed at implementing President Trump's promises to crack down on illegal immigration, including:
- Prioritizing criminal illegal immigrants and others for deportation, updating guidance from previous administration.
- Expanding the 287(g) program, which allows participating local officers to act as immigration agents -- and had been rolled back under the Obama administration.
- Starting the planning, design and construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
- Hiring 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and officers.
- Hiring 5,000 Border Patrol agents.
- Ending "catch-and-release" policies under which illegal immigrants subject to deportation potentially are allowed to "abscond" and fail to appear at removal hearings.