Biden dismantles Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

The Biden administration announced on Friday that a Trump-era office devoted to victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants is no longer needed. ICE said that the Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), created by the Trump administration, is being replaced by The Victims Engagement and Services Line. A department is being replaced by a service line.

Trump opened VOICE in January 2017 by executive order, one of the first actions by the new president. Trump made good on a campaign promise to speak up on behalf of Angel families – victims and families of victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. The official talking point from Team Biden is that VOICE will be replaced by The Victims Engagement and Services Line. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas calls it “a more comprehensive and inclusive victim support system.” Perhaps we should call the change just another attempt by the administration to “reimagine” the hot button topic of immigration, migration, and immigration reform. The help line’s new website is up, the front page explains the service line and what it can do.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Victims Engagement and Services Line (VESL) serves as a comprehensive and inclusive support system for all victims, regardless of immigration status or the immigration status of the perpetrator. This includes guidance on available U- and T-visa resources and information about the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign to counter human trafficking.

VESL will serve as a streamlined and all-encompassing access point for all victims with several service options:

*Detention Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) – Provides victims the ability to report incidents of sexual or physical assault, abuse, mistreatment or human trafficking in ICE detention.
*Victim Notification System Access – ICE and DOJ/BOP’s longstanding VINE and VNS systems provide push notifications about a detainee’s or inmate’s custody status, case outcome and other basic information to victims, lawyers and others with a vested interest in the outcome of a case.
*Victim Assistance Support – Provides general assistance and information for victims including assistance for victims of child exploitation, assistance for victims of human trafficking, assistance with local resources and social service professionals, U- and T-visa information, and training and other services provided by ICE for law enforcement agencies and community organizations.

The reporting on this change is striking in its liberal, anti-Trump immigration policy slant. There is a consistent emphasis on describing the change as Joe Biden’s “rejection of Trump’s repeated efforts to link immigrants to crime.” The adjective is missing – Trump specifically referred to crimes committed by illegal immigrants and the crime victims as the reason for VOICE. Legal immigrants who commit crimes were never the issue, any more than native-born Americans who commit crimes were. Legal immigrants have been found to commit fewer crimes but that isn’t surprising. They want to remain in the United States and not have their visa or application for citizenship pulled.

Trump ran on the issue of illegal immigration and immigration reform in 2016. This issue was a central theme for his campaign. Joe Biden came into office determined to undo as much as Trump’s efforts to secure the southern border as possible. The national media has been happy to demonize Trump’s efforts all along.

The change of tone regarding immigration has been striking between the two administrations.

While there is scant evidence that immigrants perpetuate crime—and studies suggesting they are less likely to commit a crime—Trump relentlessly sought to establish a link between immigrants and crime.

He launched his 2016 presidential campaign by portraying Mexicans in the country illegally as violent criminals and frequently highlighted the MS-13 gang, which was started by Salvadoran immigrants.

To advance his immigration agenda, Trump invited “angel families”—people whose loved ones had been victims of crimes by immigrants—to campaign rallies and high-profile speeches.

The disrespect for angel families all along by Democrats and their willing cohorts in the media has been constant. It is as though Democrats prefer to coddle criminals than to seek justice for the victims of criminals, including illegal aliens. Oh, sorry, we are no longer allowed to “dehumanize” those here illegally using that terminology. We must now call them “noncitizen,” “undocumented noncitizen,” or “undocumented individual.”

Critics of VOICE point to the low-level impact the department had as a reason to dismantle it and reinvent it.

Its most recent quarterly report for the last three months of 2018 said it fielded 781 calls during the three-month period—and that just 256 of the calls pertained to services it offered. About half were for requests on the status of immigration cases, and many of the rest were for requests for victim assistance.

“Undocumented non-citizens” who cross the southern border illegally and come into the United States, essentially breaking and entering, commit a crime from the very beginning. Those who feel entitled to be here illegally and then go on to commit a crime should be immediately brought to justice. The families of people murdered, maimed, raped, or killed by drunk drivers or high-speed police chases by illegal immigrants deserve some kind of closure.