WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security opened an office Wednesday to help victims of illegal immigrant crime and provide reports on the effect of this crime.
The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) was created due to an executive order by President Trump on immigration. The order called for the office to assist victims and the families of victims of illegal immigrant crime and to publish quarterly reports on the effects of this crime in the U.S.
DHS officials were unclear about what exactly the office would do. David Lapan, a DHS spokesman, told reporters that the main change from existing resources to victims of crimes would be a hotline dedicated for these victims. The hotline and a website, DHS-VINE,will provide victims and their loved ones the custody status of the perpetrator and information about their immigration status.
Another DHS official told reporters that this information on the DHS-VINE is “no different than the current detention locater.” She pointed to comments by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, in which he said, “like any new office we expect VOICE to evolve over time.” The main sticking point by Kelly was that “it’s their resource and it’s for them.”
Kelly said in his remarks before an audience that included the families of victims of illegal immigrant crime that these crimes “should have never taken place — because the people who victimized them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.”
However, Lapan told reporters that the VOICE office will be for victims of crimes committed by any legal immigrants.
DHS was also unclear about the quarterly reports which analyze the effects of illegal immigrant crime. A DHS official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters that they are producing the reports, but are looking into what will be in the reports and could then figure out when they will be released.
But when The Daily Caller asked Lapan to provide more information about these studies he responded, “What quarterly reports?” The spokesman then said “no,” when told they were included in Trump’s executive order establishing VOICE. He later backtracked and said they are a “priority” and that he knew they existed — he just didn’t know when they would be released.