Today, New York Immigration Coalition and LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed a Federal Court Complaint in the Southern District of New York to force the Trump Administration to respond to a November 2017 FOIA requesting documents detailing the policies, procedures, objectives and financial records for the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement (VOICE) office. The Federal government has to date failed to provide any of the requested records and information.
On his fifth day in office, President Trump fulfilled a campaign pledge and signed an Executive Order creating VOICE, supposedly designed to help families that have been the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. In subsequent months, VOICE has become a recurring tool of the Trump administration to elevate a narrative about the high incidence of immigrant crimes. This narrative runs counter to prevailing statistical data and has fostered a hostile climate further criminalizing immigrant communities.
“So long as the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement (VOICE) office exists, it becomes one more tool for the Trump administration to further perpetuate false narratives and fulfill its deportation agenda without any checks and balances or regard for due process. Our FOIA request is a last resort to ensure that the rights of all New Yorkers are protected, while shedding light on VOICE’s interactions with other federal and state law enforcement agencies. We will not allow for the continued criminalization of immigrant communities, without interrogating the evidence,” said Camille Mackler, Director of Immigration Legal Policy, New York Immigration Coalition.
“Given the Trump administration’s vilification of the Latino immigrant community and its inhumane and illegal enforcement of immigration laws, it is imperative that we obtain these documents from DHS and ICE. We must ensure that this administration’s creation of VOICE safeguards everyone’s civil rights and liberties, and for transparency on how this office is funded and interacts with other federal and state law enforcement agencies,” said Esperanza Segarra, Senior Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.