WASHINGTON — Callers have been flooding the Trump administration’s new illegal immigration hotline with stories about aliens. Only not the kind the administration was thinking of. People are trolling the line with calls about space aliens.
The hotline for VOICE, the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, was set up by an executive order President Trump signed in January to enhance public safety. It’s not a tip line to report crime, but a hotline “to acknowledge and serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been impacted by crimes committed by removable criminal aliens.”
The hotline was activated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the first time on Wednesday, and there were reportedly so many prank calls that callers either face long delays or can’t get through at all.
ICE is not happy about this. The agency said the trolling is only hurting the victims.
“The campaign to generate hoax calls is disrespectful to victims of crime and their families, and a waste of government resources,” the agency said in an email to CNN. “Tying up a hotline with hoax calls is neither an appropriate nor constructive way to express one’s opinions and it may prevent legitimate victims of crime from receiving the information and resources they seek.”
ICE will “adjust resources, if necessary” to deal with the prank calls, the agency said.
I want to report an alien
One of the first people to troll the hotline was Alexander McCoy, a Marine vet from New York.
He’s outraged by the Trump administration’s policies toward undocumented immigrants and was looking for a “fancy way” to push back.
“The idea came to me when ICE announced the opening of the hotline on Twitter,” he told CNN, “and I noticed that Alien Day was trending on Twitter.” (The hashtag #AlienDay refers to the “Alien” movie franchise)
So Wednesday afternoon McCoy sent out a tweet with a link to VOICE’s internet page and hotline number, adding that it’d be “a shame if millions of people called this hotline to report their encounters with aliens of the UFO-variety.”
People who say they have been trolling the hotline shared what they said on social media.
One said he called to report “a little green martian” who stole from his garbage. He even attached a picture of the suspect — Marvin the Martian from the “Looney Tunes” cartoons.
Another man tweeted that he called and reported that he got his “ass kicked by Superman.”
One woman said she was “victimized by an immigrant living in NYC on my tax dollars.”
Alexander called the hotline again several times on Thursday but was unable to get through due to high call volume.
Callers to the hotline on Friday heard a recording that said the same thing.
But Alexander says he’ll keep calling until “this office is shut down.”