By Meagan Flynn, The Washington Post
Huddled in the prison kitchen’s walk-in freezer, Maritza worried that she would be the next to disappear.
In the seventh season of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” the fictional character, played by Diane Guerrero, had an immigration hearing coming up, but like many immigrants, she didn’t have an attorney. How could she stop her own deportation without help? In the freezer’s secrecy, her incarcerated friends told her not to worry: They had found a group online, Freedom for Immigrants, offering a hotline for detainees in need of a free lawyer to call.
“But you have to be careful, though,” their friend Gloria told Maritza. “Apparently, if they figure out that you’re using the hotline, Big Brother shuts it down.”
This month, less than two weeks after the seventh season of the show premiered, Gloria’s warning has become reality: Real-life U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has shut down the real-life Freedom for Immigrants hotline intended for immigrants who can’t afford attorneys, the group said Friday.
To the nonprofit organization, the timing is not a coincidence.