Rights Groups Slam Trump's Proposed "Immigrant Crime Blotter"

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Rights Groups Slam Trump's Proposed "Immigrant Crime Blotter"

'The idea of a public list like this—a kind of weekly hate list—is still shocking in the extreme'

The language echoes Trump's infamously xenophobic campaign rhetoric. (Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/cc)

Human rights groups are outraged over President Donald Trump's plan to publish a "weekly list of crimes" committed by immigrants living in sanctuary cities.

The foreboding proposal, which was part of several executive orders cracking down on immigration and refugees, is "shocking in the extreme," Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

"This is completely consistent with Trump's xenophobic demonizing of immigrants throughout the campaign, of course, but the idea of a public list like this—a kind of weekly hate list—is still shocking in the extreme," the group's European media director, Andrew Stroehlein, told the Independent. "The measures this administration has announced against immigrants in its first few days will devastate families—including U.S. citizen families, naturally—and terrorize communities across the country."

Trump's plan read:

To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.

All this comes despite the fact that evidence points to immigrants being less likely than non-immigrants to commit crimes in the U.S., rather than the other way around.

The language echoes Trump's infamously xenophobic campaign rhetoric, including his first speech as a candidate in 2016 calling Mexicans criminals and rapists—and is part of a series of sweeping executive actions on immigration, including an order to start construction on a border wall and a freeze on visas to immigrants from several countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

And it comes straight from the rightwing propaganda playbook. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate crimes, noted that the order is reminiscent of content published at extremist website Breitbart News, which "has championed such hardline anti-immigrant ideas for years."

Several White House staffers joined the team directly from the outlet—most notably, Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

Moreover, Wednesday's orders broaden the definition of who is considered a criminal, as the New York Times pointed out, extending to anyone who crosses the border without documents or "abused any public benefits program." (Under former President Barack Obama, only those who had committed serious crimes, were considered national security threats, or had arrived recently were targeted for deportation.)

"Mr. Trump is opening the door to deporting far more unauthorized immigrants than previous administrations," the Times' Jennifer Medine wrote.

Amnesty International's U.K. Refugee Program director, Steve Symonds, warned, "Singling out a section of society in such an obviously negative way would be reckless."

"It risks seriously adding to fear and anxiety—already dangerously inflamed by poisonous rhetoric, including from the U.S. president—relating to migrants and those perceived to be migrants," he said.

The orders were met Wednesday with widespread resistance from self-designated sanctuary cities, as mayor after mayor vowed to protect their undocumented residents.

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