24-hour hotline launched to help immigrant community

Organizers say it's to stop abuse by ICE and to keep false information from spreading.

KUSA - If you spot an ICE operation happening in Colorado, a group of immigrant rights activists wants you to call a 24-hour hotline to report it.

A coalition of immigrant rights groups announced the launch of the Colorado Rapid Response Network Thursday morning. The hotline is staffed by more than a hundred volunteers across the state who will pick up calls 24/7.

“It’s overall a way for us to sort of like fight back against deportations and ease the fear that’s in our community when there’s rumors that ICE is going around picking up people,” said Salvador Hernandez.

He's the civic engagement coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, an organization that led the largest Latino voter registration effort in Colorado last year. Hernandez said the hotline was created in part as a response to unfounded rumors of ICE checkpoints around Denver. He said the hotline would be used to verify future reports and document any ICE activity in Colorado.

“We’ll activate a network of what we call first responders, or the people who go to where ICE is being reported to be, and then they are able to confirm or deny if it is indeed ICE or not,” Hernandez said.

The “first responders” sent out to document ICE activity won’t interfere in any operation, but they’ll be there to watch and record what happens.

“What we’re doing is within the boundaries of the law,” Hernandez said. “We are training people to be legal observers.”

Dispatchers won’t give people legal advice over the phone, but Hernandez said they’d inform callers of their basic rights.

The announcement of the hotline comes after reports of ICE officers taking people into custody at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse.

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“So we want folks to call if they see that ICE is [at the courthouse], so we can send folks to document it and use that to fight against these unjust deportations,” Hernandez said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the following statement about the hotline to 9NEWS.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is concerned about any platform that may spread unsubstantiated claims or misinformation given that they could potentially cause unfounded concern in the community. Rumors of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are dangerous and irresponsible. These rumors create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.”

You can reach the Colorado Rapid Response Network at 1-844-864-8341. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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