WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – US President Donald Trump has kept one of his campaign promises to open an office that deals specifically with assisting what he says are victims of crimes committed by criminal immigrants from the Caribbean and other places.The Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), John F Kelly, announced the official launch of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE).
ICE said it built the VOICE office in response to Trump's Executive Order entitled, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” which directed DHS to create an office to support victims of crimes committed by criminal immigrants.
“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique – and too often ignored,” Kelly said. “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place – because the people who victimised them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.”
ICE said the key objectives of the VOICE office are to “use a victim-centred approach to acknowledge and support victims and their families”; to “promote awareness of available services to crime victims”; and “to build collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders assisting victims.”
The types of assistance people impacted by crimes committed by illegal immigrants can expect include local contacts to help with unique victim requests, ICE said.
It said community relations officers will serve as local representatives by disseminating information to help victims understand the immigration enforcement and removal process. ICE said access to social service professionals will enable victims to obtain resources and service.
The immigration agency said it has a “cadre of 27 victim assistance specialists located across the country available to direct victims to a wide range of resources.”
But immigration advocates in the US describe the institution of VOICE as fear-mongering, pointing to studies that illustrate that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.
With more than a half-million undocumented immigrants living in New York City, many of which are from the Caribbean, New York City administration has been strongly oppose the Trump's administration immigration policies.