Tuesday, April 4, 2017
On February 20, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security created a new office called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office. President Donald Trump ordered its creation in Executive Order 13768 dated January 25, 2017. The office will act as a liaison between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the known victims of crimes committed by immigrants. The liaison will facilitate engagement with the victims and their families to ensure they are provided information about the offender, including the offender's immigration and custody status, and that their questions and concerns regarding immigration enforcement efforts are addressed.
VOICE is part of a campaign to highlight immigrant crime, one of the cornerstones of the Trump presidential campaign. NPR reports that, as President Trump regularly spotlights violent crimes committed by immigrants who are in the country illegally, outrage is increasingly bubbling up in communities across the country. Trump and his administration have pledged to deport more unauthorized immigrants arrested for or charged with crimes — people the president has referred to as "bad hombres" — as part of a broader effort to more aggressively enforce federal immigration laws.
Critics of the Trump administration say no one argues these are serious crimes and that the victims deserve sympathy. But those critics believe that focusing on the birthplace and immigration status of a criminal has the effect of demonizing all unauthorized immigrants, if not all immigrants (and arguably all persons of Mexican ancestry).
What is certain is that the increasing focus on the worst immigrant crimes — whether justified or not — helps to drum up support for the president's immigration dragnet.