Atlanta ICE field office voicemail message

ICE logo -- public domain

Government agencies generally don’t celebrate access and transparency.  Secrecy and lack of access is a trait of bureaucracies everywhere.  It isn’t specific to the U.S., and I generally don’t comment when barriers are thrown up.  I just quietly try to figure out end-runs around the obstacles.

But occasionally there is bureaucratic blockage that is so thick that it’s funny.  The phone message for the U.S. Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta is one of the most long-winded attempts to say “Just go away!” in bureacratese I’ve encountered in awhile.  Note that when I get through the second layer, there are no clear instructions.  Just a beep.

For background, I got wind of a rumor that an immigration checkpoint was set up, stopping cars, in Cobb County.  I wasn’t aware of any such practice, so I phoned the field office to verify whether this had happened, and whether ICE had been involved.  This is the phone message.   See if you can sit through the whole thing.

Larry Felton Johnson
Larry Felton Johnson is the "World's Oldest Journalism Undergraduate". He retired after too many years as a software systems engineer, and he's now a senior in the journalism department at Georgia State University.

He's the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier.