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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/28/17

Giving a Voice to the Real Targets of Crime vs. Silencing and Demonizing Immigrants

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On Wednesday, the Office of Homeland Security opened VOICE -- an office for Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement -- to give "people victimized by illegal aliens for the first time a voice of their own."

Amusingly, many people highlighted the term used by the right to demonize undocumented immigrants. They cited "green aliens from outer space," Sigourney Weaver, and the movie "ET."

Unfortunately, the context and framing of this initiative deserve more sober consideration, especially as the new initiative brings to mind the Nazi-era policy of providing the German public with lists of crimes committed by Jews.

We live in an era of violence against minorities and women, committed by whites and men (and often white men: yes, one can like them but also understand the demographics.)

Vandals have desecrated a series of Jewish cemeteries, hate groups are flourishing, and white supremacists have committed a shocking spate of racially-based crimes. Yet this violence -- and the epidemic violence against women -- has drawn neither the powerful censure nor the resources of this law-and-order administration.

It's consistent with a policy where most violence isn't condemned. Instead, it is used as a tool to demonize and silence groups. In August 2015 "Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny", according to Matt Taibbi, when the Republican candidate described his supporters as "passionate" after they beat up a Hispanic man. Of course, he later described them as criminals. Now violent SWAT raids against undocumented persons are terrorizing numerous communities. The rhetoric -- from the campaign on -- has been to alternately glorify violence against, then blame it on Hispanic people and other minorities.

The Nature of Violent Crime in America

But take a step back. Given the administrations strong touting of law and order, shouldn't they -- and we -- seek to understand the nature of violent crime?

Of course, the focus on crime by Republican administrations is often politically motivated. Domestic Affairs Assistant to Richard Nixon John Ehrlichman talked about the targeting of two Nixon enemies: increasingly powerful black people and the anti-war left. "[B]y getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

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