Photo: ice hotline
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a telephone hotline for detained immigrants to inform them of their rights and allow them to report cases of unfair treatment.
The new number, (855) 448-6903, may be used by detained immigrants who “believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime,” ICE said in a communique.
To make sure that those in custody “are properly notified about their potential removal from the country and are made aware of their rights,” ICE guarantees that the line will be available 24 hours a day every day with interpreters in several languages.
The president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Thomas Saenz, believes the new line is “a positive development,” though he also called the move “overdue” and “inadequate.”
“Often people who are subject to ICE detainers have no idea why they are being held,” Saenz told the Los Angeles Times.
“This kind of step should have been in place the very first time ICE undertook an expansion of its detainers,” the MALDEF president said, adding that the agency ought to concentrate on monitoring local authorities for possible unconstitutional arrests instead of waiting until detainees report possible abuses of authority.
“They may feel intimidated or unable to adequately navigate their case,” Saenz said.
ICE also announced the creation of a new form for notifying immigrants in local jails that the federal agency has requested their custody.
The revised detainer form reminds local authorities that they cannot hold individuals for more than 48 hours from the time they are taken into custody, and notifies detainees that the federal government plans to arrest them once their local sentence has been served.
The form comes with translations in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Vietnamese.