August 25, 2019

Apparently, having assistance to immigrants publicized made it something that ICE could not stomach.

A toll-free hotline designed to help immigrants in detention centers get legal counsel was shut down by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after the number was mentioned in the acclaimed Netflix series "Orange Is The New Black," according to the California-based group that runs it.

The Freedom for Immigrants’ National Immigration Detention Hotline has been an available resource to people in immigration detention since 2013, but it was shut down on Aug. 7, about two weeks after the premiere of the last season of "Orange Is The New Black," the organization said in a press release.

The hotline was featured in various episodes. After two longtime characters, "Blanca" and "Maritza," end up in deportation proceedings, they learn that immigrants don’t have the right to a free phone call after they are detained. Without access to money, both characters learn about the Freedom for Immigrants hotline and start passing out the number to others in the facility.

“The timing of the shutdown is deeply concerning. Freedom for Immigrants is being targeted for exposing abuses in detention and amplifying the stories of people suffering in the system” said Christina Fialho, an attorney and executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, in a statement.

God forbid we treat immigrants like human beings deserving of dignity and rights. The sad thing is that it's impossible to say if this came from the White House or ICE/CBP acting on their own.

Jenn Budd, a former CBP agent and occasionally C&L contributer tweeted yesterday that she's concerned with power grabs she's seeing at her former agency.

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