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People are using Trump’s “illegal aliens” hotline to complain about ET and Superman

Trump set up the hotline to report crime by immigrants. But a century of research shows immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans.

The American people are warning Donald Trump about ET and Superman.

That’s probably not what the president of the United States had in mind when this week he set up a hotline for the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement office (VOICE), meant to record and report crimes by “illegal aliens.” But many people opposed to Trump and his immigration policies have taken a creative interpretation of “illegal aliens” — to include, of course, space aliens.

Immigration officials apparently do not find the prank very funny. In a statement to Fusion, an official from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) was furious:

The VOICE line remains in operation. As yesterday was its first day I can’t give you any sense of whether this group had any impact at all on wait times or call volume because there’s no prior data to compare.

I hope you won’t dignify this group with the attention they are seeking. But if you choose to do so...this group’s cheap publicity stunt is beyond the pale of legitimate public discourse. Their actions seek to obstruct and do harm to crime victims; that’s objectively despicable regardless of one’s views on immigration policy.

The VOICE Office provides information to citizens and non-citizens alike regardless of status, race, etc., whose loved ones have been killed or injured by removable aliens. VOICE provides access to the same information you and other reporters are already able to obtain. Yet this group claims it’s somehow racist to give the same to victims of all races and nationalities? That is absurd.

Further, openly obstructing and mocking victims crosses the line of legitimate public discourse. VOICE is a line for victims to obtain information. This group’s stunt is designed to harm victims. That is shameful.

Despite ICE’s protests, there’s a serious point here: There’s really no reason for people to be especially afraid of crime by unauthorized immigrants, regardless of what Trump and his administration claim.

A century of research shows that immigrants, unauthorized or not, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. As one 2013 study found, “[I]mmigrants to the US are less likely to engage in violent or nonviolent antisocial behaviors than native-born Americans. Notably, native-born Americans were approximately four times more likely to report violent behavior than Asian and African immigrants and three times more likely than immigrants from Latin America.”

In fact, some criminal justice experts say that more immigration can actually reduce crime — by creating more integrated, economically healthier neighborhoods.

If you stop and think about it for a second, this isn’t really that surprising. Immigrants tend to be people who are escaping bad conditions or at least worse conditions in their home countries to seek out economic opportunities in a new place. In this mindset, it would make sense that these people effectively self-select to be more about finding a legitimate job than committing crime. After all, who would leave behind the problems of their home country only to perpetuate those same problems in their new home?

After nearly two years of dealing with Trump’s lies and exaggerations about immigration, though, people are fed up with trying to reason with him. So they’re warning about ET instead.


Watch: The racist history of US immigration policy

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