VOICE "Alien" Hotline Prank
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VOICE "Alien" Hotline Prank refers to a series of phone calls received by the U.S. Department of Homeland's Security's immigrant crime hotline, VOICE, regarding faux UFO sightings. Callers attempted to flood VOICE hotlines as a means of protesting President Donald Trump's immigration policies.
In his first speech to congress on February 28th, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the formation of VOICE (Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement), a special office charged with collecting the stories of victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
On April 26th, the VOICE office opened a hotline for victims to call report their stories. VOICE's homepage expressed the groups aims:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) established the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office to acknowledge and serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been impacted by crimes committed by removable criminal aliens.
This office was explicitly called for in the President’s Executive Order titled, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” dated January 25, 2017.
That day, after seeing #AlienDay (a reference to the 1986 James Cameron sci-fi film Aliens) trending on Twitter, Twitter user @AlexanderMcCoy4 tweeted (shown below) "Wouldn't it be a shame if millions of people called this hotline to report their encounters with aliens of the UFO-variety." Within two days, the tweet received more than 3,600 retweets and 5,900 likes.
That day, McCoy, an army veteran, described his first call to Buzzfeed.
They asked if I had reported the crime to law enforcement. I said yes. They asked who the victim was. I said me. They said they needed to collect my information and an “engagement officer” would follow up with me about my story, and they asked for my name, address, and phone number. I gave them fake information. [When asked what the crime was] I said I had been abducted by a UFO. There was a long pause. I heard them do a big sigh. And they closed out the conversation saying that they’d make a note of it and I should wait for the DHS to investigate my report. And hung up on me. I plan to call again tomorrow.
McCoy later clairified his aims by saying to Snopes:
What is truly beyond the pale is this illegitimate administration’s attempts to use government offices to promote bigotry, spread fear, and divide our nation. The American people are speaking out and making our voices heard that we will not tolerate an office of racist propaganda exploiting the grief of victims of crime.
Those victims are entitled to support and justice. VOICE provides neither, it merely collects stories to slander my neighbors, my friends, people who I served honorably alongside in the United States Marine Corps. Calling to report a UFO is absurd, but no more absurd than this unacceptable, un-American program, and we will not stop until it is shut down.
According to reports from within hours, people began calling the VOICE hotline. Twitter user @RobbieGamer tweeted, "Trumps’ 'VOICE' Hotline set up for people to report on crime from illegal aliens was reportedly overloaded with calls about space aliens." His tweet, shown below, received more than 20,900 retweets and 43,900 likes in the first two days.
More people encouraged others to call on Twitter. One tweet (shown below) from @dubsteppenwolf, which reads "The # for Trump's hotline to report "criminal aliens" is 855-48-VOICE. Please do not call this number to describe plots of X-Files episodes" received more than 5,600 retweets and 8,900 likes.
On April 27th, the website Fusion reached out to ICE for comment on the prank calls. They responded via emails, saying:
The VOICE line remains in operation. As yesterday was its first day I can’t give you any sense of whether this group had any impact at all on wait times or call volume because there’s no prior data to compare.
I hope you won’t dignify this group with the attention they are seeking. But if you choose to do so…this group’s cheap publicity stunt is beyond the pale of legitimate public discourse. Their actions seek to obstruct and do harm to crime victims; that’s objectively despicable regardless of one’s views on immigration policy.
The VOICE Office provides information to citizens and non-citizens alike regardless of status, race, etc., whose loved ones have been killed or injured by removable aliens. VOICE provides access to the same information you and other reporters are already able to obtain. Yet this group claims it’s somehow racist to give the same to victims of all races and nationalities? That is absurd.
Further, openly obstructing and mocking victims crosses the line of legitimate public discourse. VOICE is a line for victims to obtain information. This group’s stunt is designed to harm victims. That is shameful.
 Business Insider – 'It's called VOICE': Trump announces immigration crime program
 The New York Times – Office to Aid Crime Victims Is Latest Step in Crackdown on Immigrants
 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office
 Twitter – @ICEgov's Tweet
 Twitter – @AlexanderMcCoy4's Tweet
 Buzzfeed – People Are Trolling Trump's New Anti-Immigrant Hotline With Reports Of Space Aliens And The Government Is Not Amused
 Fusion – We Asked ICE About the Prank Calls to Their Anti-Immigrant Hotline and They Kind of Lost Their Shit
 NBC News – Calls About Space Aliens Flood New ICE Hotline After Twitter Post
 Twitter – @RobbieGramer's Tweet
 Snopes – Immigrant Crime Hotline Stalls After Barrage of Prank ‘Alien’ Calls
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Apr 28, 2017 at 06:23PM EDT
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Apr 28, 2017 at 04:41PM EDT
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