When trump announced his great, really great, idea to have a task force for Victims Of Immigrant Crime Engagement, a gasp and moan went up from the Democratic side of the House Chamber. I felt it too.
The problem is simply this:
Attempting to couch it in some kind of relief or service to victims, he doesn't hide the real nature that it is a list of crimes committed by immigrants. By so doing, he creates a new class that he can then treat differently than all other criminals because of their status as immigrants.
Maybe he only means illegal Immigrants. And I can see the point and don't even contest the valid interest of placing a priority on deporting undocumented immigrants who commit serious crime. But why create a victims list of only those impacted by Immigrants?
It seems to be a way to further a political agenda of blaming a certain group for our problems. In general, crime is down in America from decades past. Undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crime than the U.S. population as a whole. In fact, common sense says they are less likely as if they are caught, they are more likely to be deported. Deterrence is already inherent in the system.
In the address to Congress, trump did condemn the recent upswing in violence and threats against Jewish targets. He also condemned the recent killings in Kansas. However, unlike victims of immigrants, he is not proposing a register for crimes against Jews, or crimes perpetrated by white, right-wing, citizens.
What would it be like if he kept a register of victims of crime perpetrated by Catholics, or Seventh-Day Adventists, or Mormons? Such a list would not have been so far fetched in past centuries. And there have been people of those religious groups who commited terrible crimes.
What if he kept a register of victims of financial fraud by white, crazy-haired, conniving, capitalist, entrepreneurs? Don't get me wrong, a victims' list of a more generalized category such as affinity fraud or questionable lending practices would not be bad. But it wouldn't look too good if he had a task force for victims of affinity fraud by Seventh-Day Adventists excluding all other perps or if he had one for victims of German banks ignoring all other financial institutions.
It is too easy to see blame placed on an unpopular class of people to further political power based on disparaging that class. It's been done before. And it is not American.
Let's put forward the best proposals for immigration reform based on the good ideas of Democrats and Republicans like Reagan, the Bushes, and John McCain (before he backed out). Let's honor ennobling principles of reform like the Utah Compact with respect for families and human beings of all backgrounds.
OK. I get to tell my own anecdote about the wonderful lady who cleans our office. When I'm trying to concentrate on work, it is sometimes difficult to switch to concentrate on Spanish language when she wants to strike up a conversation with those she knows speak it. I should be more kind. But one day she was talking and expressed the fear she and her family had about trump. (As she works in a federal building, I can only assume she has legal status). She said that some of her family members are at risk. She acknowledged that President Obama deported a lot of people. And here's the kicker--She said that the difference between Obama and trump was that she knew that Obama, in spite of some strict immigration enforcement, cared about her as a person; trump did not.
And there you have it. The recognition of a clear animus directed at a specific class of people when there are so many other problems, even some related, that rise beyond such a class.