During President Donald Trump’s address to congress on Tuesday evening, the president managed to stay on-script and is being praised by most in the media for sounding, “presidential.” But looking outside that incredibly low-set bar, the real story here is how Trump proposed a truly concerning and infuriating new government program – VOICE.
The newly appointed agency was created by Trump to give voice to victims of violence committed by immigrants in an effort to bolster his anti-immigrant policies. The agency’s acronym stands for “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement” – you’ll notice the name makes no use of words like “Illegal,” or even “Undocumented,” seeming to include all violence from any immigrant instead of ones that are in the U.S. through illegal means.
The agency plans to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants, meaning that citizen or not, you could have your DUI or petty theft added to a greater narrative of anti-immigrant sentiment. Criminal records are already in the public domain nationwide, so this list serves only to elevate the crimes to create and maintain a narrative about immigrant conduct.
Trump is hoping that his new agency will continue the trend he displayed during his candidacy, inflating stories about immigrant-committed crimes as if to indicate a widespread trend or epidemic.
The issue is that we already know that what this new agency will seek to argue is fundamentally false. A wealth of literature has concluded that in the U.S., there is no correlation between immigration and crime. In fact, in most instances immigrants actually commit less crime than U.S. citizens, likely because they fear increased consequences for misconduct.
The creation of a new agency dedicated exclusively to pointing out a small niche of criminal activity in the United States can only work to serve as further propaganda for the President’s wall and ban on Muslims.