Donald Trump has unleashed his latest racist, fascistic propaganda tool, as promised: a hotline for people to specifically report crimes committed against them by undocumented immigrants, or, as the hotline refers to them, “criminal aliens.” Under an executive order made back in January, the Department of Homeland Security has opened VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement), whose stated purpose is to “serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been impacted by crimes committed by removable criminal aliens.” A big part of the VOICE model consists of a hotline for reporting the crimes, and the Internet seems to be resisting in quite a creative fashion. (By the way, the New York Times emphasizes that “research shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans.”)
Not to bang the oft-inaccurate and over-banged Trump/Hitler drum too hard, but this is a case where tactical similarities are striking and chilling: as the Washington Post noted back in March, Hitler also kept lists of crimes committed by the groups he was targeting, propagating the message that Jews were “criminal by disposition.”
Now, Twitter, being the imaginative, and sometimes socially conscious (and sometimes socially hideous — it’s all the things!) place it is, became a breeding ground for a fabulous little idea: troll the hotline with calls about illegal space aliens. As Buzzfeed notes, hypotheticals like this…
…led to the sharing of the hotline phone number along with concrete suggestions:
…and some other creative ideas:
…and assertions that people had actually done it:
BBC notes that various people on Twitter spoke of long wait times, and abandoning completing the calls due to the time it’d take to get through — so the amount of alien invasions reported to VOICE is quite unclear.
Regardless of tactic — whether it’s inundating the office with goofy pranks or calling representatives in congress — it should certainly be made clear that this office whose sole purpose seems to be to paint an image of undocumented immigrants as dangerous criminals should have no place in American society. Sure, victims of crimes should be able to seek justice — but an organization devoted to helping people voice their stories about crimes committed solely by undocumented immigrants is just so transparently a xenophobic scapegoating mechanism.
Salon quotes Pam Campos, an Executive at Common Defense (an organization for “vets united against hate”), saying the same: “This office is a depraved and dangerous propaganda vehicle that exploits tragedy to fuel hate and division. Our commitment of service has no room for tolerating a xenophobic registry, which serves no purpose in helping victims of crime, and only exists to provide fodder for racism.”