People Are Trying to Figure out the Point of Trump's New 'Alien' Hotline

April 26th 2017

Announcing the formation of VOICE ("Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement"), the Trump administration on Wednesday made good on a promise to create an office  to assist the victims of crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. VOICE will be a part of ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the organization responsible for carrying out Trump's deportations.

The program will include a hotline where victims can receive "local contacts to help with unique victim requests," according to ICE, as well as "automated custody status information," and "additional criminal or immigration history about an illegal alien."

    John F. KellyChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - flickr.com

    Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly told reporters: "All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique — and too often ignored. These are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place because the people who victimized them oftentimes should not have been in the country in the first place.”

    Solving a problem that doesn't exist

    While Kelly's comments might seem reasonable, the reality is that VOICE sets out to tackle a problem that doesn't really exist. Immigrants, undocumented or not, are far less likely to commit crimes than native-born U.S. citizens, according to the American Immigration Council. Indeed, "high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime."

    Border Patrol CarFrank Heinz - flickr.com

    In the case of undocumented immigrants, the only crime most have committed is the crime of entering the United States illegally (staying in the U.S. without proper documentation is a civil violation). 

    Many were quick to criticize the Trump administration.

    Critics argue the new office is simply a way of dividing the nation, demonizing minorities, and stoking fear among white people. Salvador Sarmiento, national campaign coordinator for the National Day Labor Organizing Network said in a statement it "is blatantly racist and a dangerous new tool for extremists and white supremacists. Trump’s weapon is fear. Trump wants white people to fear anyone who is not white. And he wants all of us to fear him and his administration."

    Trump ProtestMike Maguire - flickr.com

    Brent A. Wilkes, chief executive of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told The New York Times, "This just continues the campaign strategy Donald Trump employed to vilify immigrants and identify them with a small number of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants."

    People on Twitter were quick to criticize as well.

    Many noted that the hotline will likely draw a lot of false accusations against people of color.

    What the hotline will ultimately accomplish is unclear. But it does allow Trump to claim a promise fulfilled — and further ostracize a class of people he wishes to remove from the country.

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