The reality-star-in-chief’s first-ever speech to congress was only remarkable in that Trump read off of a teleprompter. While bleary-eyed pundits were busy talking about how he was finally sounding presidential, a few disturbing details slipped by their attention, such as a proposal for the formation of a new Homeland Security office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE).
The office is designed to record and target crime committed by undocumented immigrants, a subject that Trump repeatedly leaned on during his hate-filled path to the White House. While the embattled Trump – currently weathering a slew of scandals relating to his Russian ties – has announced plans to destroy everything from the National Endowment for the Arts to Americorps, the fact that he’s going out of his way to create a new federal body certainly must mean that it addresses a real and pressing problem, right?
While stoking fears of marauding “illegals” helped shore up nativist support during his campaign, the fact is that immigrants (undocumented immigrants, especially) are much less likely to commit crime than legal citizens. Numerous reports and an analysis of census data indicate that immigrants are one-half to one-fifth as likely to commit crime as natural-born citizens. Interestingly, second-generation immigrants are just as likely as the rest of the population to commit crime. It appears that assimilation into the American way has a way of encouraging criminal behavior.
The overarching takeaway here, however, is that there is no particular problem that Trump’s absurd proposal will solve. His additional promise to publish a list of crimes committed by immigrants in “sanctuary cities” is particularly worrisome considering the lack of statistical evidence proving that immigrant populations are more criminal. Scholars point to the similarity between this measure and one passed by Nazi Germany that similarly targeted Jews – publishing the names of convicted criminals who were Jewish for the sole point of singling them out and creating the impression that they constituted a nefarious population.
Trump’s strong-man tendencies have been on full display as he’s botched these first two months. As controversy continues to engulf both him and his scandal-plagued appointees, we can hopefully look forward to a tarnished administration incapable of actually implementing these toxic policies.