A telephone hotline set up by the Trump administration to allow people to report crimes committed by illegal immigrants, is being snarled by protesters and pranksters.
The hotline, called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), was launched Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Critics took to social media to mock it and urged people to call the hotline to report space aliens.
One critic, Alex McCoy, was one of those urging the prank calls.
"I thought this was a chance to push back on how Trump has demonized the immigrant community. [The idea] really took off," he told NBC News, adding that he hopes his efforts will lead to the hotline’s shutdown.
According to Fox News, the volume of prank calls has caused backups for those wanting to report crimes.
“(Homeland Security) Secretary (John) Kelly made clear in his announcement Wednesday that this phone line is to be dedicated for the use of victims seeking information and resources,” an ICE official told Fox News. “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.”
VOICE was created as a result of President Trump’s January 25 executive order called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”
“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique — and too often ignored,” Secretary Kelly said on Wednesday as he unveiled the new office. “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place — because the people who victimized them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.”