KTLA5, Associated Press, December 10, 2019
Immigrant advocates sued the Trump administration Tuesday for ending a free hotline that allowed detained immigrants to report concerns about custody conditions after it was featured on the show “Orange Is the New Black.”
The nonprofit group Freedom for Immigrants, which has run the hotline since 2013 with a free phone line provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sued in federal court in Los Angeles.
“They cannot shut down this hotline in retaliation for the fact they don’t like what Freedom for Immigrants is saying,” said Moez Kaba, a partner at Hueston Hennigan, which is representing the group.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment on the lawsuit but said the hotline was removed last year from a list of pro bono legal service providers.
At the time, the agency notified the group that it had been misusing the hotline, said Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman.
The line was not monitored or recorded so immigrants could find and speak with lawyers, but the group was using it for three-way calling to connect detainees to family, Cox said.