Undocumented immigrants who say they have been mistreated by the government will now be able to share their concerns through a new Department of Homeland Security hotline system rolled out last week amid efforts by the Obama administration to make it easier for people without legal status to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. A memo detailing the customer complaint line said U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials wanted immigrants to "tell us about your experience" if they were treated "contrary to the new DHS enforcement priorities," the Washington Times reported.
President Barack Obama announced in November a policy that would shield as many as 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. The White House has also directed Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents not to arrest some immigrants with minor criminal records. "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," a guide to the new hotline system reads.
"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. "DHS continuously engages with stakeholders, members of Congress and interested individuals to provide the most up-to-date information and answer questions about any new initiatives."
Obama's immigration policies have been slammed by conservative leaders and Republican lawmakers in Congress. Critics said the measures encourage more illegal immigration and reward people who break the nation's laws.
"Instead of supporting our agents, this administration has decided it is more important to find new ways to solicit complaints and invite ridicule against them," Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the labor union that represents line agents, told the Washington Times. "We demand that this administration spend more time defending the men and women defending our nation and less time promoting the extreme agendas of pro-illegal-immigration organizations."