The Department of Homeland Security has released its first weekly list of “immigrants who have committed crimes in the US”.
The report, entitled the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Declined Detainer Outcome Report, is not an exhaustive list, but merely “examples”, according to the Trump administration.
The list, which includes people who have been charged but not convicted, came as Donald Trump was heavily criticised for introducing a ban on passengers from eight Middle Eastern and North African countries carrying electronics on flights to the US.
Those on the list are currently in America and haven’t been deported despite a request by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
No names are given, only their county and state, their citizenship and criminal history. The date they were issued a detainer and the date that detainer was declined is also included.
The crimes — and charges, which amount to half the list — include domestic violence, assault, drug possession and traffic violations.
One, a charge, simply says “liquor”.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honour immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” said Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan.
The weekly report was mandated in a controversial executive order, signed by the President on 25 January, called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”.
It requires the DHS to, each week, “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honour any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
A DHS spokesperson said the department is actively working with its in-house lawyers to find ways to release the names of immigrants in future reports without contravening federal law.
“I think this is a truly terrifying decision that DHS has made,” said Lindsay Schubiner of the civil rights group Center for New Community. “These weekly releases have the effect of criminalising immigrants in the public imagination.”
Schubiner compared the list to Nazi Germany and, as the Washington Post points out, Adolf Hitler did publish a list of crimes committed by groups such as Jews during the Third Reich.
However, Professor Richard Weikart of California State University said comparing Trump to the Nazi leader was “misguided”.
Hitler’s great crime was to launch an expansionist war and kill millions of people in the name of human biological inequality,” he said. “This issue doesn’t really rise to that level, does it?”