WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) introduced the Voice for Victims Act, legislation to restitute the VOICE Office to provide “proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens” and their families. The VOICE Office will also provide quarterly reports to Congress that examine the effects of victimization of US nationals by criminal aliens. The Voice for Victims Act will also expand the functions of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman to include working with the VOICE Office to provide assistance to and accountability for victims of crimes by criminal aliens
“Many dangerous illegal immigrants, including cartel members, are making their way further into our country committing heinous crimes,” said Senator Tillis. “Anyone who falls victim to a dangerous illegal immigrant deserves the proper care and attention, including bringing the illegal immigrant to account. I am proud to work with Senator Hagerty to introduce this legislation so we can give a voice to every victim.”
“The Biden Administration’s disastrous open-border policies have flung the door wide open for criminals to enter our country illegally and commit crimes against innocent people,” said Senator Hagerty. “We’re seeing a national security crisis of epic proportion with over 160 different nationalities apprehended at our southern border since Joe Biden took office. Adding insult to injury, President Biden terminated the office created by President Trump to help victims of crimes by illegal aliens. This commonsense legislation will reverse President Biden’s regrettable decision and reinstate this critical assistance for victims of these reprehensible acts.”
In 2017, President Trump established the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (“VOICE”) Office in 2017 under the Department of Homeland Security to assist victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. This resource served victims of crimes by criminal aliens by acknowledging and supporting victims and families, promoting awareness of available services to victims, and building partnerships with community stakeholders to assist victims. Before President Trump established the VOICE Office, victims of crimes by criminal aliens did not have a dedicated government resource to provide information about their cases and access to assistance.
In 2021, President Biden terminated the VOICE Office and replaced it with a watered-down phone line to provide resources to victims of crimes committed by anyone rather than criminal aliens. This sends a clear message to victims of crimes by criminal aliens that their voices do not matter to the Biden Administration.
Due to President Biden’s failed immigration policies, Customs and Border Protection has had over 3 million encounters with illegal immigrants since President Biden took office. The chaos created by this crisis has allowed criminal aliens to cross the border undetected, and to conduct human smuggling and drug trafficking operations. For example, in FY22, CBP apprehended over 800 criminal aliens with convictions for domestic violence, over 1,100 for DUI convictions, and nearly 250 for sex crimes. The Biden Administration’s catch and release policies during a surge in illegal immigration is a recipe for crimes by criminal aliens, and it is more important than ever that victims of crimes by criminal aliens are able to access dedicated resources.