Politics

DHS cancels Trump’s office for victims of illegal-immigrant crimes


President Trump gave an unprecedented voice to victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants, creating an office in ICE to highlight their plight.

The Biden administration on Friday announced a new policy to expand the office’s purview in a way that victims say drowns out their voice.

What Mr. Trump dubbed the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) is now being changed to the Victims Engagement and Services Line, and it will handle calls from anyone who claims to be a victim, no matter what their immigration status or the status of the perpetrator.

And it will specialize in helping illegal immigrants who say they are victims of crimes get special visas to stay in the country.

“All people, regardless of their immigration status, should be able to access victim services without fear,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “This administration is committed to providing a reliable source of information and guidance for all victims irrespective of their status.”

His move is the latest in a series of steps designed to erase any vestige of changes Mr. Trump made in immigration policy at Homeland Security.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where the VOICE office was located, said it will issue a new telephone number for the VESL.

In addition to helping immigrants get U and T visas, which give legal status to illegal immigrant victims of certain crimes and human trafficking, respectively, the new office also will serve as a hotline for immigrants in detention to complain of their treatment.

The office also will serve as a notification system for immigration court cases.

Don Rosenberg, whose son was killed in a traffic collision by an illegal immigrant, said the lack of any focus on crimes committed by illegal immigrants was “conspicuous.”

“It is not ICE or the Department of Homeland Security’s function to ‘help’ illegal aliens,” Mr. Rosenberg, who is president of Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime, told The Washington Times. “This new office is another outrageous violation of our immigration laws and another ‘service’ to allow illegal aliens to remain in America.”

Mr. Trump gave victims and their relatives like Mr. Rosenberg an unprecedented voice in public policy. First as a candidate and then as president, Mr. Trump repeatedly met with them, invited them on stage at events and gave them a platform to highlight an often untold side of the immigration debate.

By contrast, top Democrats, including President Obama, President Biden and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, focused on illegal immigrants themselves, elevating voices of DACA recipients and others who are in the country illegally.

The contrasting approaches play out throughout Homeland Security’s mission, with the Biden team limiting the targets for ICE arrest and deportation and relaxing border controls, which analysts — and illegal immigrants themselves — say has sparked the current border surge.




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