The Obama administration has launched a new free hotline for people arrested on immigration violations to get help 24/7.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is operating the service for people to call if they think they "may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime."
Some are saying the hotline stems from the recent report where the Department of Justice says they found racial discrimination against Hispanics in Maricopa County.
Two and a half years ago, during one of Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's illegal immigrant raids in Central Phoenix, Fili Gaucin, a legal permanent resident, was handcuffed and detained for hours.
"I told them, why do you guys have them, they are legal," Cecilia Gaucin said. "My husband has his green card and my son doesn't even speak Spanish, he was born here."
Fili says deputies were busting a drop house at the home directly behind his when a deputy came knocking on his door.
"They had everybody in handcuffs, they got me, took me to the back and handcuffed me and my 12-year-old son," Fili said. "I told them 'why us?' and they told me, 'you had something to do with this' and I said 'no, I don't even know those people.'"
Fili and his son were released after his wife insisted to deputies they were wrong. She says ICE's hotline would have been good at the time.
"There's a lot of people who are afraid but I think they will call because there are too many things going on, racial profiling, it's just because of the color of your skin," Cecilia told CBS 5.
Sheriff Arpaio criticized ICE's latest step.
"Why doesn't the Justice Department have hotlines for bank robberies or suspicious federal activities or drug trafficking?" Arpaio said.
The hotline is to be used for any civil rights violation by any law enforcement agency in the country.
The number is 855-448-6903.
Translation services will be available in several languages from 7 a.m. until midnight Eastern, seven days a week. ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office for immediate action.
The measures are being implemented "to ensure that individuals being held by state or local law enforcement on immigration detainers are properly notified about their potential removal from the country and are made aware of their rights."
Wednesday, May 22 2013 2:29 PM EDT2013-05-22 18:29:48 GMT
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