+
upworthy
More

People have been prank-calling Trump's anti-immigrant hotline in glorious ways.

Apparently, the first day of Donald Trump’s new immigrant crime hotline went amazingly — just not in the way the Trump administration had probably hoped.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), established to assist victims of crimes committed by "removable criminal aliens," was reportedly prank-called all day by protesters claiming to have been abused by E.T., Jabba the Hutt, and other notorious creatures from outer space.

The trend was first noticed by Robbie Gramer, a writer for Foreign Policy.  


An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson told BuzzFeed that the hotline was "tied up" throughout the day by the protesters.

Alexander McCoy, a Marine Corps veteran and progressive activist, claims to have kicked off the tongue-in-cheek protest with a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

"I swore an oath to defend my community and uphold the Constitution," McCoy says. "I see speaking out as a way of continuing to fulfill my oath and standing behind the immigrant community that is under attack."

McCoy, who explains that he finds the term "aliens" intentionally dehumanizing, called the hotline and — after waiting on hold for 20 minutes — was asked if he was calling to report a crime by an "illegal alien."

He told the operator that he'd been abducted and taken to a UFO.

"I heard them give a long sigh," he says. "And they closed out the conversation saying that they'd make a note of it."

Critics of VOICE allege that it unfairly demonizes immigrants — singling them out for suspicion based on their status.

The office was announced during Trump's Feb. 2017 address to Congress during a tribute to four guests whose family members were killed by undocumented immigrants.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Two recent studies conducted by The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform organization, and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, found that immigrants — whether documented or undocumented — commit crimes at lower rates than native-born residents.

An ICE official told Upworthy that the VOICE office is intended to provide information to crime victims and does not receive crime reports, and also that he considers the protest a "shameful" stunt at victims' expense.

After McCoy's tweet went mini-viral, other prank-tivists began calling in, adding their own spin.  

Michigan resident Lisa Polmanteer used her time on the phone with a VOICE representative to troll Melania Trump — claiming to have been "victimized" by an immigrant living off her tax dollars in New York City.

According to Polmanteer, the operator asked if she was talking about the first lady. When she said yes, he hung up.

Others on Twitter suggested an entirely different, punny approach.

While the prank was undoubtedly silly, its message was incredibly serious.

"I feel like the administration is going to use these stories to further demonize immigrants [and] refugees," Polmanteer says. "My grandparents were immigrants. I take it personally, I guess."

McCoy hopes the protest will move participants to support the efforts of immigrant rights groups, like United We Dream, Presente, Mijente, and the DRM Action Coalition, who have been, as he says, "fighting this fight much longer than I have."

He also hopes people will continue to take action against attempts to stigmatize those who come to the U.S. seeking a better life.

For now, that means fighting efforts like VOICE — even if it means being a little annoying.

Or especially if it means being a little annoying.

"I feel like the only thing I can do about it is be disruptive." Polmanteer says. [I'm] feeling pretty overwhelmed and powerless, you know? So I'm a jerk wherever I can be."

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images.

This post was updated with comments from ICE.

"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."

Keep ReadingShow less
Community

Hotel is giving away 10 all-expense-paid trips to help rebuild Patagonia hiking trail

Post your video entry by March 15 for a chance to do some good while exploring one of the world's most stunning ecosystems.

Las Torres Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park

In the far southern reaches of South America, Patagonia beckons adventurers with its striking landscape. Rugged mountain peaks, deep valley vistas, pristine lakes, virgin forests, coastal cliffs and more combine to make this semi-arid land a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.

If you've ever seen a photo like this…

hiking trail next to a lake in patagoniaHiking trail at Torres del Paine National Park in PatagoniaLas Torres Patagonia

…and thought, "I have to go see that turquoise water for myself," now's your chance. Las Torres Patagonia is offering an all-expense-paid trip (including airfare) for 10 lucky winners to travel to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and stay at the all-inclusive Las Torres Patagonia hotel for five days.

Keep ReadingShow less


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less

Lamb Chop and Mallory Lewis are creating nostalgia in Mellennials

"Lamb Chop's Play Along" taught a whole generation so many meaning for things. The little sock puppet taught kids things like manners, kindness and a really annoying song that doesn't have an ending. It'll probably be difficult to find a Millennial that doesn't know "The Song that Doesn't End" by Shari Lewis who voiced Lamb Chop.

The kids show aired from 1992 to 1997 on PBS, with Shari passing away just a year later. But turns out everyone's favorite squeaky voiced lamb wasn't done bringing people joy. Shari's daughter Mallory Lewis has taken up her mom's throne as Lamb Chops handler and the internet couldn't be more thrilled to see the duo.

Mallory has the same fiery red curly hair that her mom did and has brought Lamb Chop, Charley Horse and Hush Puppy back out to play. To the delight of Millennials, the sassy lamb is still just six years old and gets Mallory into some tricky situations when trying to explain things to the puppet.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Sitwithit / Instagram

Validation and Hope vs. Toxic Positivity

A Helpful Chart to Explain the Difference Between Support and 'Toxic Positivity" was originally published on The Mighty.

There's no denying that positivity can be powerful. I know when I'm struggling with anxiety and negative thoughts, if I can hold onto an ounce of hope — that I'll make it through, that I'm not defined by my thoughts, that I'm not as bad as my brain is making me out to be — I can cope a little better.

The positivity we hold within ourselves, when we can manage it, makes it a little easier to get by.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

How 5 diabolical parents called their kids' bluff in hilarious ways

The next generation is in great, if diabolical, hands.

Photo by Phuong Tran on Unsplash



Recently, blogger Jen Hatmaker had a funny conversation with a friend about parenting:

"My girlfriend told me the greatest story. Apparently her 11-year-old also wanted to be a grown up this week and, in fact, not only did he treat his siblings like despised underlings, but when asked what he wanted, he said: 'I want the authority to be in charge of them and tell them what to do, because they deserve it!'


Well. My girlfriend and her husband are NOT AT ALL MESSING AROUND with parenting. Calmly, evenly, they granted his request to be a grown-up for a week by pulling him out of camp (the underlings still got to go, because they are 'such children') and sending him to work ALL DAY EVERY DAY with his dad. He has to get up early and shower and make breakfast for everyone. He has to kiss the underlings before he goes to work and tell them to have a great day and that he loves them. He has to work on a typing project during his office hours. He only gets to eat what his dad eats, because eating like a grown-up is not nearly as fun as eating like a kid.


Want to be an adult? Fine."

Photo via iStock.

Hatmaker's post went viral, with thousands of parents chiming in with their own stories of tough love, both giving and receiving.

The responses were hilarious, poignant, and a sign that the next generation is being parented by extremely capable, if not a little bit diabolical, hands.

Here are five of my favorite stories from the comments about parenting-gone-absolutely-right:

Keep ReadingShow less