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DHS Launches Hot Line for Jailed Immigrants

Napolitano in Afghanistan

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano addresses media at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. Napolitano said on Saturday she will send more U.S. experts to train Afghan police and customs officials to better manage the country's porous border crossings.

The Homeland Security Department is launching a hot line for people jailed on immigration charges who believe they are victims of crime or may be U.S. citizens.

The toll free hot line -- 855-448-6903 -- will be staffed 24 hours a day and run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to answer questions from people held in local jails about whether they may face deportation proceedings.

The hot line is the latest move by the Obama administration to address concerns about suspected illegal immigrants held in local jails. Earlier this month, Homeland Security ended agreements that had allowed deputies at an Arizona sheriff's office to check the immigration status of local jail inmates after a Justice Department report outlined allegations of racial profiling and discrimination against Latinos.