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.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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