The Trump administration just released its first weekly compilation of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in American sanctuary cities, a move which is nearly identical to a similar publication put out by the Nazis about Jewish Germans in the years leading up to World War II.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report was created by one of President Trump’s executive orders. The listed crimes include such offenses as drug possession, domestic violence, and DUIs, also making a point to note the immigrant’s country of origin.
Many of the immigrants listed, it should be noted, have not yet been convicted of their crimes.
It has become something of a cliche in contemporary politics to compare an unpopular figure to the practices of Nazi Germany, but this report is quite literally straight out of Hitler’s playbook. The Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer ran a regular segment titled the “Letter Box,” which regularly published accounts of Jewish crimes. The segment was launched by Hitler’s operatives after the majority of Germans did not participate in a boycott of Jewish businesses in April 1933 as a way to inflame anti-Semitic sentiment.
Trump’s rise to power has also relied on stoking hatred, largely against Mexican immigrants and Muslims. He famously began his political career by suggesting that the vast majority of Mexican immigrants were “murderers” and “rapists,” despite the well-documented fact that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a lower rates than American citizens.
These new reports have largely been interpreted as a way to scapegoat sanctuary cities who refuse to fall in line with his anti-immigrant agenda.
Trump has raged against sanctuary cities since the beginning of his presidency, seeing them as an unacceptable defiance of his authority. Within the first week of being in office, he signed an executive order which enabled the federal government to withhold federal funds to sanctuary cities, despite the fact that these cities tend to cooperate with federal law enforcement requests. They simply do not inquire about a person’s immigration status when they are arrested for a crime, nor do they aggressively pursue deportations on a local level.
“The federal government can’t demand that state officials or local officials do their work,” said constitutional law scholar Barry Friedman, citing the Tenth Amendment and the Supreme court precedent called Printz v. United States.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement.
However, critics of this new precedent, including Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez of Illinois, say that this will only make law enforcement’s jobs more difficult.
“Trump’s presidency is based on a number of lies, but one of the most important to Bannon, Trump, and Sessions is to paint all immigrants as killers and rapists,” Gutiérrez said. “The reality is that in most cities, the police have found that acting as deportation police makes it harder to keep their cities safe.”
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW