This week, Quartz reported that tucked into one of President Trump’s two unprecedented executive orders on immigration, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” was a directive to publish a weekly report on crimes committed by immigrants. It also seeks to undermine sanctuary cities.
Here is the full text:
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 the jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor a detainer.
Under any circumstances, it is misleading to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by a minority of people in the country, regardless of how often members of that group commit crimes relative to the rest of the population. If it’s difficult to extrapolate how this would be misleading, imagine if Trump published a list of crimes committed by blond people. It would result in anyone who fits that physical profile being treated with undeserved suspicion by everyone, from their elementary school teachers to law enforcement. That’s an invitation to discrimination.
But this proposal is particularly problematic because there is no evidence whatsoever that immigrants are raising the crime rates in America — there’s actually evidence to the contrary. As my colleague German Lopez reported shortly after Trump’s racist remarks on the campaign trail that immigrants from Mexico are criminals and rapists, “Immigrants — both legal and unauthorized — are actually less likely to commit crime than native-born Americans.”
German summarized the two major findings of a study from the Immigration Policy Center, which looked at data dating back over 100 years: “Native-born Americans are more likely to be incarcerated than Central American immigrants, and recent increases in immigration occurred as crime actually fell in the US.”
The decline in crime, the report’s authors wrote, "is hardly surprising since immigrants come to the United States to pursue economic and educational opportunities not available in their home countries and to build better lives for themselves and their families. As a result, they have little to gain and much to lose by breaking the law."
As Quartz pointed out, “This proposed list is a move reminiscent of Breitbart News,” the site founded by Steve Bannon, one of Trump’s senior advisors. “Infamously, Breitbart had a ‘black crime’ section, opened as a response to Black Lives Matter.”