The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday unveiled its controversial immigrant crime office, complete with a hotline for U.S. citizens to report alleged crimes committed by undocumented aliens—which was promptly overwhelmed with calls about extraterrestrials, UFOs, and First Lady Melania Trump.
The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), which was announced in February, has been slammed by critics as a tool to scapegoat and demonize immigrants to serve President Donald Trump's "nativist" rhetoric. DHS chief John Kelly introduced the office at a press conference Wednesday where he refused to take questions from reporters, stating, "There's nothing but goodness in what we're doing here today."
Opponents disagreed. And they seemed to enjoy trolling the hotline after its introduction, with one man, Marine Corps veteran and journalist Alexander McCoy, telling BuzzFeed that he reported being abducted by a UFO.
"I think it's powerful to see the response there's been. I think there are a lot of people who have been searching for something they can do to speak out, and I'm glad that so many people are showing solidarity with the immigrant community," McCoy said.
Wouldn't it be a shame if millions of people called this hotline to report their encounters with aliens of the UFO-variety. https://t.co/Cl048Gihnk
— Alexander McCoy (@AlexanderMcCoy4) April 26, 2017
Another woman called in to say she had been victimized by "an immigrant living in NYC on my tax dollars."
"The guy I spoke to kind of cut me off and asked if I was calling about the first lady and I said, 'how did you guess?' and he hung up on me," she told BuzzFeed.
Another person wrote, "Just tried to call to report the theft of my tractor by space cadets—on hold for 8 minutes had to abandon, will call again!"
McCoy later tweeted that the flood of calls appeared to have shut down the hotline. A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to BuzzFeed that the lines were "tied up by hoax callers."
In case you want to share your X-Files fan fiction with DHS...
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) April 27, 2017
Calling the VOICE hotline over and over again and describing in elaborate detail my favorite episodes of “ALF"
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) April 27, 2017
Make sure when you call Trump's VOICE hotline to report undocumented aliens, remember to give Melania's address in NY and Mar a Lago
— TBogg (@tbogg) April 27, 2017
Trumps’ “VOICE” Hotline set up for people to report on crime from illegal aliens was reportedly overloaded with calls about space aliens
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) April 26, 2017