By Emanuela P. Leaf
If you’re an undocumented immigrant who has dealt with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. government wants to know about your experience, and it has set up a hotline to help you do so.
The hotline is managed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), to report allegations of employee corruption, civil rights and civil liberties abuses, program fraud and financial crimes, and miscellaneous criminal and non-criminal activity associated with waste, abuse or fraud affecting the programs and operations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
People can also access hotlines for two other DHS agencies to lodge complaints, including the legal office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the entity handling amnesty paperwork, Citizen and Immigration Services.
Examples of allegations that should be reported to the OIG Hotline include, but are not limited to:
- Employee Corruption involving bribery, embezzlement, espionage and smuggling;
- DHS Program Fraud/Financial Crimes involving blackmail, contract fraud, grant fraud, immigration fraud and program theft;
- Civil rights or civil liberties abuses involving custodial deaths, denial of rights, profiling and use of force concerns;
- Miscellaneous criminal and non-criminal misconduct within DHS involving abuse and violence, child pornography, unauthorized use of DHS Information Technology systems, suspicious activity, ethics violations, and prohibited personnel practices such as Whistleblower retaliation.
“If you believe you (or a family member) were apprehended and processed by a Customs and Border Protection officer or Border Patrol agent contrary to the new DHS enforcement priorities, please tell us about your experience by contacting the CBP INFO Center,” the announcement said, according to the Washington Times.
This addresses the policy changes under President Barack Obama’s amnesty program, which paves a path to citizenship for 4 million undocumented immigrants. Following the new guidelines, CBP agents are directed to not arrest undocumented individuals even when they do not qualify for amnesty.
“This provides one place for all stakeholders to find out more about the new DHS guidelines, deferred action, eligibility for new initiatives, or to register comment or complaint,” DHS spokeswoman Ginette Magana said.
Whether the hotline will truly be effective or is simply political posturing will only be known for sure if the immigrant community is made aware of its existence and uses it.
To report an allegation you can:
|Call:||1-800-323-8603 toll free|
|TTY:||1-844-889-4357 toll free|
|U.S. Mail:||DHS Office of Inspector General/MAIL STOP 0305
Attn: Office of Integrity & Quality Oversight – Hotline
245 Murray Lane SW
Washington, DC 20528-0305