U.S. launches new hotline for detainees

December 30, 2011 11:18 am 1 comment

Federal immigration officials Thursday announced the creation of a telephone hotline to ensure that detainees held by local police are informed of their rights.

The toll-free number, (855) 448-6903, will field queries from detainees held by state or local law enforcement agencies if the detainees “believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime,” the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement.

An ICE official in Washington said agency representatives had not been authorized to comment about the hotline but that more information soon would be posted online.

The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by ICE personnel, according to the statement, with interpreters available in several languages.

“ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office for immediate action,” the statement said.

As part of the new initiative, ICE officials plan to issue a form to all detainees informing them that ICE will assume their custody within 48 hours, according to the statement. The form will be available in English as well as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Vietnamese, the statement said. ICE posted a sample copy of the form online Thursday.

“It also advises individuals that if ICE does not take them into custody within the 48 hours, they should contact the [law enforcement agency] or entity that is holding them to inquire about their release from state or local custody,” the statement said.

The hotline comes amid controversy over local law enforcement agencies’ ability to detain people they believe to be illegal immigrants.

Scores of local law enforcement agencies partner with the federal government under the 287(g) program, established in 1996, which deputizes police to turn over suspects or criminals to immigration authorities for possible deportation. Normally, police do not enforce federal law.

ICE has 287(g) agreements with 69 law enforcement agencies in 24 states, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Since January 2006, the program is credited with identifying more than 217,300 potentially removable illegal immigrants, mostly at local jails, according to ICE records. Also under the program, ICE has trained and certified more than 1,500 state and local officials to enforce immigration law, the agency says.

Immigrant rights groups say the program has led to civil rights violations and racial profiling, and such authority has been especially controversial in Arizona. There, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been criticized for what many people call mistreatment of suspected illegal immigrants.

This month, the Justice Department announced it was suspending its 287(g) agreement with Arpaio and his deputies after an investigation found they had pursued a campaign of racial profiling against Latinos, making unlawful arrests and violating civil rights laws in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration.

Separately, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, ended the Maricopa County jail officers’ authority to detain people on immigration charges, barring them from holding immigration violators who have not been charged with local crimes.

Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, called the new hotline  “a positive development,” but said it was “overdue” and “inadequate.”

“Often people who are subject to ICE detainers have no idea why they are being held,” said Saenz, who is based at the national Latino civil rights group’s Los Angeles headquarters. “This kind of step should have been in place the very first time ICE undertook an expansion of its detainers.”

“ICE needs to focus on fixing the problems up front,” Saenz added, avoiding unconstitutional arrests and monitoring local law enforcement agencies it partners with rather than relying on detainees to report abuses.

“It relies on the individuals being detained to have the courage, knowledge and wherewithal to make a call to the hotline and follow up. They may feel intimidated or unable to adequately navigate their case,” Saenz said.

Related Posts:

1 Comment

  • Johnetta Gebauer

    I want to help in any way I can, just like these heroes. I’ve known about the Virginia initiative for some time now, but I haven’t found any way to contact them. I want just as much as these others but I don’t know where to start. Other than having the need to go and do good. Anybody know where to contact them?

Leave a Reply

Anti-Bot Verification Code
Visual Verification Reload CAPTCHA


Other News

  • Business/Economic Government Headlines Legislation Politics Region US US Government SEQUESTRATION: Why there will be no deal

    SEQUESTRATION: Why there will be no deal

    Everyone seems to be asphyxiated with the looming “sequestration” created by Barrack Obama last year in order to “avoid creating another budget”, a plan that only reduces the growth of spending by 2% over the course of ten years.  You just heard that right — there are no “cuts” to spending — it merely places a cap on how fast our spending can grow with our current programs.  So why is everyone so worked up over this? The answer is fear mongering.  From the [...]

    Read more →
  • Government Headlines Legislation Politics Region US NUMBERS USA: Congress Feels the Heat

    NUMBERS USA: Congress Feels the Heat

    Congress may have been out of session all week, but it didn’t keep immigration out of the headlines. That’s partly because the White House decided to leak parts of its immigration plan last weekend while Members of Congress were on their way back home. But it’s also because of the outrage many Members faced in their districts – thanks, of course, to many of our NumbersUSA activists. Gang of Eight member, Senator John McCain, reportedly faced the most heat earlier [...]

    Read more →
  • Government Headlines Politics Region US BREAKING: Reported “Drills” Reeks of Martial Law

    BREAKING: Reported “Drills” Reeks of Martial Law

    Hiding from the national spotlight, several local news channels such as ABC are reporting “US Army”, “Multi-agency” drills, and other operations in our major cities from Houston, Texas, to Miami, Florida. Other sources are reporting that the military is on alert for declaring “Stage One National Martial Law” — a term as scary as it sounds. If this is what it appears, it will have been an act authorized by congress through the NDAA and Obama’s Executive orders (National Preparedness Executive [...]

    Read more →
  • Business/Economic Corporate Government Headlines Politics Region Science/Tech US US Government World Internet Outages Caused by US Govt?

    Internet Outages Caused by US Govt?

    As many people in the US today is noticing, many routes to foreign networks and US government networks are corrupt or unroutable — though highly speculative, it could be caused by the US Government in attempt to suppress any news that may be coming in from a foreign entity.   This outage was reported today by our own network engineers as well as our parent company’s experts.  After a quick search and a read through our archives, we came to the conclusion to how [...]

    Read more →
  • Government Headlines Legislation Politics Guns and Concern

    Guns and Concern

    For the past decade, the US Government has been very consistent in one thing:  Every crisis is somehow blamed and punishes the law abiding citizens of the United States.  No matter the spin, no matter what officials tell you, well all know precisely what happens:  ”Someone stabs someone else in the eye a few times?  Get rid of the forks.”

    Read more →

Secured for spam by MLW and Associates, LLP's Super CAPTCHASecured by Super-CAPTCHA Developed by Goldsboro Web Development..

Welcome Liberty Writers

Log in

Lost your password?

Register For This Site

Visual Verification Reload CAPTCHA


Join us as we spread the word.