Last night, Donald Trump gave a rousing hour-long speech that covered a wide range of topics from the economy to American exceptionalism. Of particular note in the speech was mention of the creation of a new office to deal specifically with crimes committed by immigrants. The announcement was met with audible groans from Democrats and rousing applause from Republicans.
"I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE — Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement," said Trump just last night. "We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests."
Shortly after the announcement, Trump pointed towards a few members in the audience whose families' "government failed them" (Trump's words) by not protecting them from harmful immigrants. "We will never stop fighting for justice," said Trump. "Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory."
Concrete plans for VOICE remain unclear, although it will certainly coincide with Trump's plan to regularly publish a list of crimes committed by immigrants, reminiscent of the "Black crime" section of Breitbart news, a far-right news site spearheaded by Trump's advisor Steven Bannon.
Bernie Sanders offered a rather scathing reply to the announcement. "The murder of anyone is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to all families who lose a loved one to violence," Sanders said in a Facebook post. "But let's be clear about what Donald Trump is doing tonight in inviting family members who saw a loved one murdered by an undocumented immigrant. He is stirring up fear and hatred against immigrants and trying to divide our nation ... President Trump, any murder is a tragedy. Don't use these tragedies to stir up divisions by race and nationality."
The ACLU offered a similar criticism: "The obvious intent of a provision like that is to provide a misleading view of what sanctuary jurisdictions are really doing," said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.
Now would be a good time to remember that there is no real correlation between immigration and increases in crime. In fact, statistics show that the presence of immigrants tends to decrease crime rates.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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