HIAS Expresses Deep Concern Over DHS’ New ‘VOICE’ Office
Apr 26, 2017
WASHINGTON—This week, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formally opened the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office. HIAS president and CEO Mark Hetfield issued the following statement in response:
“Singling out certain people based solely on their immigration status sets a dangerous new direction for our society. This new, taxpayer-funded government office only serves to marginalize minority communities, demonize newcomers, and divide us.
“Throughout history, governments have misused national criminal reporting systems as a platform for scapegoating and propaganda. For example, during the early part of the twentieth century, HIAS-assisted Jewish refugees who had fled persecution in Europe were even blamed for the majority of crimes in New York City. We are concerned about the impact the VOICE Office will have on perceptions of our country’s immigrant communities, on those communities themselves, and on our country as a whole. HIAS will monitor its implementation closely. It is unfair to demonize immigrants based on the actions of a few while failing to recognize the overwhelmingly positive contributions new members of our society make to our economy and our communities.”