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Voiceless Victims in Trump’s America

As usual, the fake news people are trying to make a big deal out of the fact that it took Donald J. Trump more than 48 hours to respond to the killing of two men on a Portland commuter train, and the serious injury of a third, by a United States citizen. The killings took place after two teenage girls, one of them wearing an hijab, were verbally attacked by the United States citizen.  Three bystanders came to the defense of the girls and the United States citizen killed two of them and grievously wounded the third.

At the time of the incident, DJT had just returned from a triumphant trip abroad, his first as president, and he was, of course, focused on the success of that trip and other things that had happened in his absence.  Between the time of the murder on May 26 and Memorial Day on May 29, DJT sent out more than a dozen tweets praising himself for the self-perceived success of his foreign travels, praising the newly elected member of Congress who successfully body slammed a reporter to the floor to teach the reporter not to ask questions, and tweetily slamming the media for publishing reports critical of DJT.

But that in itself is not why DJT did not comment on actions of the United States citizen.  He failed to comment because there are, on average, 23 gun homicides a day in the United States, most of them by United States citizens, and any number of non-gun murders.   If DJT tweeted about every murder that takes place in the United States on a daily basis, he would have little time to tweet about anything else.

Nonetheless, “Fake news” sites such as the New York Times commented that DJT seemed not to have noticed the events that took place in Portland. A former prominent newscaster, Dan Rather, went so far as to send a letter to DJT, drawing DJT’s attention to what had happened in Portland.  He concluded his letter saying, “Two Americans have died leaving family and friends behind. . . . I hope you can find it worthy of your time to take notice.”  DJT did so the following day in a sympathy tweet.

The reason DJT did not respond without prompting is that the murderer was a United States citizen.  Had the murderer been an immigrant, DJT’s response would have been quite different. As he said in an interview on Fox news some weeks ago:

“We’ve gotten tremendous criminals out of this country.  I’m talking about illegal immigrants that were here that caused tremendous crime. That have murdered people, raped people – horrible things have happened. They’re getting the hell out or they’re going to prison.”

And DJT has done more than just complain about those “tremendous criminals” who are immigrants.  He has demonstrated his concern about crimes committed by immigrant criminals by creating a new office in the Department of Homeland Security that will help only those who are the victims of crimes committed by immigrants.

The new office is called “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement” or “Voice” for short.  It gives voice to victims of crimes if they are lucky enough to have become victims because of the actions of immigrants.  It does not help victims who achieved their status through the actions of United States citizens, such as the ones in Portland.

The website for Voice says its mission is to “support victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens, through access to information and resources.”  Describing voice, John F. Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, said:

“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique-and too often ignored.  These are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place because the people who victimized them oftentimes should not have been in the country in the first place.”

Voice will be staffed by 27 specialists in victim assistance and 21 community relations officers who “will assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.”  The office will provide a hot line for victims to call to get information about the status of their criminal’s case and the criminal’s progress through the immigration system.

It would not be surprising to learn that readers who know of the existence of Voice will secretly entertain the hope that, if they are the victims of a criminal act, it will not be committed by a United States citizen, but by a removable criminal alien because of the benefits available through Voice.  They should realize that it is unlikely that their hopes will be realized.  Notwithstanding DJT’s comments to Fox news, immigrants are, in fact, less likely to engage in criminal conduct than United States citizens.  Among men between 18 and 49, immigrants were only one-half to one-fifth as likely to find themselves incarcerated as native born Americans.  Immigrants make up 7% of the population in the United States, but only 5% of prison population.

That is not meant to suggest that Voice is useless.  Its creation enables DJT to believe he is doing something worthwhile.  Would that he were.

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