As was widely expected, President Donald Trump used his first address to the joint session of Congress to further his nationalist agenda, instead of, you know, unveiling the Obamacare replacement plan he and his administration have been teasing forever or discuss the details of how the administration will pay for its “bold and daring” agenda for the next year.
Of all the bombastic and bigoted statements the commander-in-chief made — including his use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” — what stood out the most was his plan to create a new government agency that would do nothing but legitimize the government targeting undocumented immigrants.
“I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims,” Trump said in his speech. “The office is called VOICE — Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests.”
Loud boos and groans greeted his announcement.
“I want you to know — we will never stop fighting for justice,” the president continued. “Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory.”
In a bid to make an emotional plea and exaggerate the need for his disturbingly authoritarian move, the president then turned the spotlight on the victims. He actually named four people in the audience who were related to someone affected by crimes committed by immigrants with criminal records.
Trump’s call for VOICE falls in line with his contentious campaign rhetoric, where he regularly blamed the rise of violence to undocumented immigrants — despite the fact that several research studies have shown immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans and thus have much lower institutionalization rates.
His stance grew even stronger after his unexpected election victory.
In his first televised sit-down interview as the president-elect, Trump boasted about his plan to deport or incarcerate up to 3 million immigrants.
His administration’s current deportation crackdown, which saw ICE officers arresting hundreds of unauthorized immigrants all across the country and transferring them to detainment facilities, was a proof how far he’ll go with his racist and xenophobic attitude.
The reaction on social media spoke volumes about how the new agency, which, as someone pointed out, can start genocide.
With the creation of #VOICE , Trump continues his nativist demonization of the immigrant community. Dangerous. Baseless. Shameful.— León Krauze (@LeonKrauze) March 1, 2017
Trump's VOICE is a foul way to vilify immigrants as criminals; an ext of his slur against Mexicans as rapists & murderers. #JointAddress— David Leopold (@DavidLeopold) March 1, 2017
Wow VOICE is racist propaganda and how genocides begin. #Jointsession— Tina Dupuy (@TinaDupuy) March 1, 2017
So, I'm a little behind here, but he's launching a PR hate operation to justify being mean to immigrants? That can't be right. #VOICE— Christopher Moore (@TheAuthorGuy) March 1, 2017
So Trump now saying victims of crimes committed by natural born citizens are not as important as those by immigrants cause, u know, hate.— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 1, 2017
Who TF is supporting VOICE? What makes the crimes committed against them any worst then those committed by Americans?...#JointAddress— Jean-Carlo Palacios (@jcpala89) March 1, 2017
@samsteinhp I'm not a liberal, but I think the speech was full of promises without a plan. Offended by VOICE. All victims need advocates.— SJPrice (@sjprice528) March 1, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mike Segar