The country’s first 24-hour Deportation Family Support Hotline launched yesterday to help Illinois families and children left behind in deportations. The HELP-MY-F(amily) hotline will serve callers from Illinois in English, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese.
This is the first time in the country’s history that a dedicated 24-hour crisis hotline (855-435-7693) is being used for immigration issues. The call center is located in Chicago but during its month-long trial run it has fielded calls from all over the U.S.
In the past five years, 48,330 people have been deported from the Chicago ICE region. Nationwide, 400,000 individuals were deported in 2010 leaving an estimated 80,550 children without a parent. Callers can expect to be given information on legal aid, social services for family members and immigration law information.
Currently the majority of calls are “from people asking questions about the 300,000 deportation cases under review,” said Stephen Smith director of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).
The hotline is being launched by ICIRR in partnership with 35 Chicago social service agencies; the Catholic Church and other ministers; 17 private law firms and the National Immigrant Justice Center; Mexican hometown federations; the Adler School of Professional Psychology; the Mexican Consulate; and 67 trained bilingual volunteers.