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Team Trump launches a misguided anti-immigrant effort

Donald Trump's new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office is a misguided step in an ugly direction.
Immigrants prepare to be unshackled at a detention facility on Nov., 15, 2013 in California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty)
Immigrants prepare to be unshackled at a detention facility on Nov., 15, 2013 in California.
The Trump administration, as promised, launched a new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office yesterday, which includes a hotline Americans can call if they're a victim of a specific kind of crime: those perpetrated by undocumented immigrants.The Department of Homeland Security recently asserted, "Criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents," and the Trump administration intends to take action.Apparently, however, some took Team Trump's rhetoric quite literally and reportedly started calling the hotline to report crimes committed by aliens -- as in, extra-terrestrials.And while that's kind of hilarious, the White House's initiative isn't funny at all. If Donald Trump and his team are committed to take new steps to offer support to crime victims, that's a worthwhile goal. But as a USA Today editorial noted the other day, that's not quite what the president is doing with this initiative.

Never mind that immigrants on the whole -- undocumented or in the U.S. legally -- are less prone to crime than native Americans.... Even if the facts showed otherwise, there are good reasons this country doesn't create separate programs for victims of crimes by Jews or Catholics or African Americans or Asians or juveniles or short people. Categorizing criminals in this way is not going to provide any special comfort to victims. And, by underscoring and overpublicizing the acts of some members, such efforts are the first step toward assigning guilt to a group.This runs contrary to the core American value that people deserve to be judged as individuals, based on their own behavior. To do otherwise is the very definition of prejudice.

The piece added, "Blaming an already unpopular minority group for the actions of a few has no place in America."Quite right. And yet, according to Trump's Department of Homeland Security, the launch of the VOICE office is "one of the top accomplishments of Trump's first 100 days."