Donald Trump’s first month in office has already left countless human rights organizations and activists reeling.
The ACLU and a small army of lawyers have been working around the clock, pro bono, to fight an executive order that has targeted visa holders, green card holders and DREAMers.
One would hope that things couldn’t get any worse in such a short span of time.
And yet, they have.
During his first congressional address, Donald Trump spoke of “a new chapter of American greatness” and revealed a terrifying new project called VOICE, which stands for Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement.
VOICE will be an office dedicated to documenting and compiling reports about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
The impact of this type of governmental program will likely be increased hostility toward immigrants.
We’ve already seen what happens in times when there is a rise in bigoted rhetoric aimed at minority communities — be they black, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise.
The proposed VOICE program should frighten people not only because of what it means for the future of immigrants in the United States, but also the images and ideas from the past that it evokes.
In a move to isolate and vilify Jews, the German Nazi Party would run reports on supposed Jewish crime statistics in order to stoke anti-Semitism.
The German public aided in their efforts by providing their own anecdotes that vilified Jews. These stories would then be published by Der Sturmer, a newspaper that regularly featured caustic anti-Semitic content.
We have already seen examples of the kind of bigotry and hatred that the Trump administration has fostered. On Feb. 22, a man in Kansas shot two Indian-American men at a bar in Kansas, reportedly demanding that they “get out of [his] country.”
One of the men was killed and the other man, as well as a bystander who chased the gunman as he escaped, were injured. The gunman reportedly thought he was shooting two Iranians, according to 911 calls placed by a worker at a restaurant where the gunman sought refuge after the attack.
Studies have shown that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crime than people born in the U.S. And yet, many immigrant communities are facing unprecedented hostility from both the public and the government. The VOICE program will only add to these woes, resulting in further stigmatisation or even violence.
VOICE may not be our generation’s Nuremberg Laws, but we can’t afford to deny that it could someday get to that stage.