Prank Calls Brought ICE Hotline To a Standstill, Internal Emails Show

Prank Calls Brought ICE Hotline To a Standstill, Internal Emails Show

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: When ICE launched an immigration crime hotline last year, the Trump administration pitched it as a way to provide resources to victims, but activists saw something else: an attack on the immigrant community. The hotline was part of the Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office, an outfit established in February 2017. When the office first launched a line for its services the following April, protestors flooded the hotline to call in pranks and slow down response times. The plan picked up even more steam as the protestors shared the hotline number online, encouraging others to call in with fake tips.

According to internal emails and documents obtained by The Verge under the Freedom of Information Act, prank calls fully upended the system, leaving operators unable to answer more than 98 percent of incoming calls during the protest as the media relations team attempted to contain the narrative. In reports and emails produced in the first days of operation, ICE officials described an “overwhelming” amount of calls. The day after the launch, the office received more than 16,400. Of those, only a little more than 2,100 were placed into a queue, and only 260 answered. Callers in the queue waited as long as 79 minutes to reach an operator. An official noted that, should the rate of calls continue, they would need an additional 400 operators to field the hotline.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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