Hon. Lory D. Rosenberg Replies To Nolan Rappaport’s VOICE Article On “Appeal Matters”

Here’s Lory’s blog reprinted in full with her permission:

Lory D. Rosenberg on Appeal Matters
Why President Trump’s VOICE is Misplaced and Serves No One Draft Blog Entry Edit Blog Entry
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by Lrosenberg, 03-02-2017 at 09:14 PM (0 Views)

The VOICE office announced by President Trump in his SOTU speech on Tuesday night is the most disturbing, offensive, and misplaced priority he could have chosen to address the pressing need for immigration reform.

Moreover, it astonishes me how anyone with an understanding of the reality of the overwhelmingly positive immigrant contributions to our workforce, our communities, and our society as a whole could applaud such folly. It is mind-boggling that a person who purports to understand immigration law can honestly praise its introduction. Cf. N. Rappaport, Opinion Contributor, The Hill, “On immigrant crime, Trump’s right. Americans deserve more data” (3/1/17).

Establishment of such a new office panders to unsubstantiated, and in fact, soundly refuted, fears of an immigrant crime wave, and fosters public hysteria that is utterly unfounded. Are there serious crimes committed by immigrants? Yes, although very few are violent offenses. They generally involve violations of state, not federal, law, and they are duly prosecuted and punished in our courts, without regard to the perpetrator’s immigration status. Any claimed value to the victim in connecting ICE to removable aliens for “information” is pure fantasy.

Moreover, proportionately, the immigrant crime rate is minimal compare to the crimes committed by the native population in the United States. See Ewing, W and Rumbaut, R., SPECIAL REPORT The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States, http://www.americanimmigration council.org/research/criminalization-immigration-united-states. A federal program for victims of crime committed by an immigrant as opposed to a United States citizen, erroneously propagates the destructive misconception that immigrants are mostly criminals. Cf. Spenkuch, Jörg L., Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime, 16 American Law and Economics Review 1,177-219 (2014), https://doi.org/10.1093/aler/aht017.

As leading scholar on immigrants and crime, Professor Ruben G. Rumbaut has stated,

“It [the VOICE office] will serve further to drive up fear and to sigmatize entire immigrant populations as criminals, using rare anecdotes to publicize misleading claims, even though every research study over many decades shows exactly the opposite: immigrants, including the undocumented, have the lowest crime (both violent and property crimes) and the lowest incarceration rates in the US.”

What is more, the policy changes anticipated since President Trump’s inauguration may dismantle much needed agency resources that support implementation of critical humanitarian and domestic violence efforts, such as VAWA and other critical programs that have been part of DHS’s portfolio. Those are the most important victim support resources that are needed. Information collection and communication can be achieved easily and made available to victims, policymakers, and scholars alike through accurate agency reporting.

There are more than adequate local police programs, as well as private and faith-based programs, available to victims of all crime in their communities. That is where victims will find the information and restitution they may seek. One would think an administration that seeks to reduce the the federal bureaucracy and rely upon the states to address all but those problems that demand federal intervention would shrink from imposing a duplicative and unnecessary venture that is likely to offer little more than one night of celebrity in a television audience.

Trump’s self-indulgent VOICE office paints a target on the backs of honorable, hard-working immigrants – and others who look like immigrants – in our population. He may derive satisfaction from the publicity of such a pointless gesture, but the office’s establishment does nothing to reform a deeply broken system that victimizes immigrants and citizens alike each day that nothing is done to reform it.

c.2017 Lory D. Rosenberg

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PWS

03/02/17

THE HILL: Nolan Rappaport Gives Thumbs Up To President Trump’s “VOICE” Program

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/321859-trumps-mostly-wrong-about-immigrant-crime-but-gets-1-thing

Nolan writes in The Hill:

“The VOICE office will create a programmatic liaison between ICE and victims of crimes committed by removable aliens. The objective is to facilitate engagement with the victims and their families to ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that they are provided with information about the offender, including the offender’s immigration status and custody status.
Secretary Kelly funds this program by ordering the director of ICE to reallocate the resources currently used to advocate on behalf of undocumented aliens (except to comply with a judicial order) to the new VOICE Office, and to terminate outreach and advocacy services to undocumented aliens immediately.

VOICE is not a completely new idea. ICE established a Victim Assistance Program in 2008, but it has worked primarily with victims of human trafficking.

A Huffington Post contributor says, “Let’s call this what it is: VOICE is racist government propaganda.” He claims that VOICE will embroil the media and the public in a constant debate about the merits of immigration in the United States.

Even if the contributor is right about President Trump’s intention in creating this program, and I do not think he is, I applaud the president’s attempt to help crime victims.

Moreover, I believe that the public is entitled to more information about crimes committed by immigrants, particularly the ones who are here in violation of our immigration laws. Then, we will be able to let the facts speak for themselves.”

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Nolan informs me that his article made “The Hill’s Top Five Hit Parade.”  Congratulations to Nolan, and many thanks for his timely and highly readable scholarship on immigration and politics.

Note that to fund VOICE, DHS will terminate all outreach programs aimed at assisting undocumented individuals involved in various DHS processes.

PWS

03/01/17