Statement from Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Laura Barrett on Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE)

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CHICAGO (April 25, 2017) — “The Department of Homeland Security will launch a new office on Wednesday to document and track crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, as announced by the president during his first address to a joint session of Congress.

“Unfortunately, like most of the president’s policy during his first 100 days in the White House, the VOICE office is just another piece of red meat for the far-right ideologues who wrongly blame immigrants for the many serious challenges facing all working people in the United States today.

“In fact, the VOICE office will do much more harm to working people and our communities than it will do good.

“The VOICE office will feed into the wrong-headed and destructive narrative that there are 'good' immigrants and 'bad' immigrants. The tradition of immigration in the United States has never been merit-based and it should not start now.

“The VOICE office will make communities from coast to coast less safe as undocumented people will continue to fear reporting crimes of which they have been a witness or a victim leading to less arrests and less convictions of dangerous criminals.

“More insidious is that the VOICE office is far too reminiscent of a tactic of one of the most odious regimes in human history. The parallels between Trump's VOICE office and the publication of crimes committed by Jews in Nazi Germany are too obvious and distrubing not to be noted.

“If the president truly cares about making America great, he should be investing in existing federal agencies that serve the interests of working people every day and which are facing imminent and deep cuts under the president’s proposed budget. Invest in systems that already work, Mr. President. Don’t create new offices that won’t do more than satisfy the darkest elements of your supporters and your Administration.”