President Trump's executive orders came so fast and furious in his first week in office, causing so much chaos and constitutional strife, that some fairly chilling details buried in the orders were drowned out in all the rabble.
In last Wednesday's executive order on "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," section 9 dealing with sanctuary cities called for a "public…comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens."
Despite ample documentation showing native-born Americans commit more crime than immigrants (including undocumented immigrants), and that since 1990 increased immigration has coincided with an overall drop in crime nationwide, and that sanctuary cities have better economies and lower crime rates than their non-sanctuary counterparts, President Trump shows every intention of following through with his campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration using any means possible. The supposedly anti-regulation president also wants to create some new federal bureaucracies to aid those efforts.
As Reason's Damon Root noted, the order's threat to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities is unconstitutional for a number of reasons. And even though the language of the order was specifically designed to appease police unions by exempting federal funds "deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes," in Los Angeles—a metropolis where one in every ten residents is an undocumented immigrant—both the police chief and the rank-and-file want no part of the Trump administration's plan to use local law enforcement to round up people for deportation.
The police's primary reason: it makes their job fighting crime (real crime, not imagined crime) harder if "you create a shadow population…that fears any interaction" with police, as LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times.
Section 13 of last Wednesday's executive order also calls for the creation of an "Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens," which according to the order will "provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims. This office shall provide quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States."
The language in this section is so broad it is difficult to discern what level of crime would qualify for action by this proposed office. Would shoplifting by an undocumented immigrant lead to federal action for the "victims"? How about an undocumented immigrant driving without a license, or holding down a job? Considering immigration hard-liners consider every thing an "illegal" does in this country to be a crime, how many "victims" are we talking about? And how much will this office cost taxpayers?
Moving on to last Friday's executive order, "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States"—which will likely always best be remembered as Trump's "Muslim travel ban"—there is some curious language regarding the collection of "information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including honor killings."
To be sure, domestic violence and abuse of women are serious problems afflicting the United States, and "honor killings"—where a family member kills another to restore honor to the family after the violation some religious code—occur approximately 5,000 times a year worldwide, according to the United Nations. But in the U.S., that figure is "between 23 and 27" annually, according to a 2014 report commissioned by the Department of Justice.
For some context on how "honor killings" compare with other violent crimes in the United States, the report says, "Expressed as a rate, honor killing occurs approximately 0.008 offenses per 100,000 persons…compared with 4.7 for homicide, 27 for rape/sexual assault, and 113 for robbery…"
While even one "honor killing" is one too many, these numbers lay bare the exaggerated threat to the nation posed by the despicable practice in Trump's executive order. And while it's true that some undocumented immigrants do commit crime, the creation of new federal bureaucracies whose primary function appears to be to make the public absolutely terrified by the scourge of "Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens" is both a waste of time and a prime example of the "big government" the GOP once at least pretended to oppose.
Watch Reason TV's doc "The GOP is Wrong About Sanctuary Cities" below: