Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced on Wednesday the official launch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office for victims of illegal immigrant crime, and a program to help track the custody status of violent, illegal perpetrators.
ICE’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) was created in response to President Trump’s executive order to enhance public safety, which directed the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to support victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.
“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique — and often too ignored,” Kelly said on Wednesday. “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place — because the people who victimized them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.”
Kelly outlined objectives of VOICE, including a “victim-centered approach” to support victims and their families, along with promoting awareness of available services to crime victims, such as the new automated service, DHS-Victim Information and Notification Exchange, which was created to help victims track the immigration custody status of those illegal alien perpetrators of crime.
According to DHS, ICE community relations officers will serve as “local representatives” to share information with victims regarding the enforcement and removal process of illegal aliens. According to DHS, ICE has 27 victim-assistance specialists across the country who possess a “high degree” of specialized victim-assistance expertise and training.
“ICE is employing a measured approach to building the VOICE office — meaning that it intends to expand the services VOICE offers in the future,” DHS said in a statement on Wednesday. “This approach allows the office to provide immediate services to victims, but will also allow the agency to collect metrics and information to determine additional resource needs and how the office can best serve victims and their families moving forward.”
Fox News' Matthew Dean contributed to this report.