US president Donald Trump is creating a new government office with the very specific purpose of serving American victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
It will be called VOICE—Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement—and sit under the US Department of Homeland Security, Trump said during his first address to Congress.
It was among the most fleshed out of the policies outlined by Trump during his speech—in that it has a name and an acronym—but he didn’t offer many details.
“We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests,” he said, before introducing several of the guests he had brought to the chamber for the speech, family members of several victims of crimes perpetrated by immigrants.
VOICE is part of Trump’s broader focus on the negative aspects of immigration, from his references to bad “dudes” and “hombres” to his ordering the weekly release of a list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. He had already ordered the creation of a victims’ support office through an executive order on Jan. 25. A subsequent memo on the implementation of the order provides a bit more background on the rationale for the office and its assigned tasks.
Criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents. Often, these victims are not provided adequate information about the offender, the offender’s immigration status, or any enforcement action taken… leaving victims feeling marginalized and without a voice.
VOICE presumably will make sure these details are provided to victims. It will be funded, at least in part, with resources “currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens,” per Homeland Security chief John Kelly, who wrote the memo. Another VOICE mandate: to provide reports “studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens.”
It’s unclear how many people will qualify for its services. Numerous studies show that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native born population. The fact that crime rates have not mirrored the steep rise in the number of undocumented immigrants also suggests that criminals represent a small sliver of that population.
Jail statistics back up that conclusion. Although immigrants, whether in the country legally or illegally, make up more than 13% of the total population, they only represent 4.6% of the prison population, according to an American Immigration Council study of Census data.