The executive orders signed by President Donald Trump have many people worried, and for good reason. Families are separated, refugees turned away, progress made by activists protesting the DAPL and Keystone XL pipelines set back, and although he put a freeze on federal hiring, 10,000 additional ICE officers will still be added to federal payroll.
Many of the numerous actions Trump has taken are cause for concern, but are not surprising. He is fulfilling promises made during his campaign, promises that kept the majority of U.S. citizens from voting for him and promises that marginalize many people— particularly immigrants.
There’s one aspect of Trump’s orders that may have been lost behind the wall and the victims of foreign wars who have become victims of Trump’s policies. Buried in an executive order meant to secure the country’s interior is the formation of the Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens.
The function of this office would be to report quarterly, “studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.” For a president who claims federal funding of the National Endowment for the Arts NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is a waste of money, Trump has some pricey ideas for reforming immigration policies.
Another aspect of the order concerns sanctuary cities, or cities that refuse to report or hand over undocumented immigrants for deportation. The order calls for a weekly report of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to be made public in order to “better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions.”
Trump’s “immigration list” is an attempt to sway public opinion towards the unrealistic belief that immigrants are dangerous criminals. Multiple studies have found that immigrants are less likely than native-born U.S. citizens to commit crimes. A study conducted by the Center for American Progress even found that sanctuary cities have lower crime rates and more productive economies compared to non-sanctuary areas.
An extremely conservative stance on immigration was prevalent since the beginning of Trump’s campaign. He would mention the names of victims of crimes committed by immigrants, and tell their stories to the nation. Despite what many Trump supporters may believe, a list won’t bring the victims’ families justice, but it will target an already marginalized group.
Trump claims the measures, “ensure the safety and territorial integrity of the United States,” and “[illegal immigrants] present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”
In a nation divided by so many things, Trump himself is a threat to national security. The unfortunate short-sightedness of a man whose mother was an immigrant has the potential to hurt the millions of people who have the audacity to reach for the American dream.