In the fifth episode of the last season of #Netflixs “ #OrangeIsTheNewBlack ,” the character Maritza, who has been languishing in an immigrant detention center, finds out about a toll-free hotline she can call to get a free lawyer. As she’s rejoicing, another character, Gloria, cuts her off.
Gloria warns Maritza: “You have to be careful, though. Apparently if they figure out that you’re using the hotline, Big Brother shuts it down.” That’s exactly what happened, advocates say. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shut down a real hotline for detained immigrants run by the California group #FreedomForImmigrants less than two weeks after it was prominently featured on the show.
Freedom for Immigrants, which runs visitation programs in detention centers across the country, responded Thursday with a cease-and-desist letter charging that the termination is a violation of free speech and amounts to retaliation by the government in an attempt to silence one of its prominent critics. Six actors from “Orange Is the New Black” and more than 100 organizations signed a letter to acting ICE Director Matthew Albence demanding that the line be restored.