President Trump’s proposal to create an office for victims of immigrant crime may be the most controversial of his controversy-ridden treatment of immigration, McClatchy Newspapers reports. The goal is to support victims of crimes perpetrated by people in the country illegally. That seemingly benign purpose drew the only audible protests during Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night. The plan to establish the office, say critics, is intended to demonize immigrants by painting them as predators bent on victimizing Americans. “That is fear-mongering,” said Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center. “(The) focus on perhaps a very tiny percentage of people who have committed a crime is not representative of immigrants and refugees.”
On Tuesday, Trump called out several invited guests, one by one, who were alleged victims of immigrant crimes. “We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests,” he said. Studies over the years have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the U.S. Experts say the evidence does not support the idea that immigrants commit an increased share of crime. Trump has repeatedly featured family members who he said were killed by immigrants in the country illegally. Several of the cases involve traffic accidents, and in one instance a woman was killed by her ex-boyfriend. One person Trump highlighted during his campaign died of cancer 12 years after being shot. The person who shot him was a legal Vietnamese immigrant who later hanged himself in his cell.