Just five days after he was sworn in as president early last year, Donald Trump signed two executive orders that inaugurated his iron-fisted immigration policies.
One of the orders, titled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, required the publication of a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities. It was designed to highlight the harmful effects of the cities' refusal to cooperate with federal authorities.
But more than a year later, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has published only three such lists; the last one was issued in mid-February of 2017.
ICE spokesperson Danielle Bennett said publication of the list has been suspended while the agency continues to “analyze and refine its methodologies.” She would not specify why that's needed or when the next list might be published.
The announcement of the crimes list unleashed an uproar among civil rights groups that branded it as an attempt to “demonize” immigrants. The first published list included a majority of Hispanics who had been charged but not convicted of crimes, mostly driving under the influence, robbery, theft and sex offenses.
Many studies and academic research papers have shown that immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens.
And what about VOICE?
The same Trump order also required the creation of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), an office to assist victims of crimes committed by immigrants. VOICE was also supposed to publish quarterly reports outlining how crimes committed by foreigners impact victims. It was inaugurated April 26, 2017 but has yet to publish a report.
“That is still pending,” Bennett wrote in an email to Univision News.
The office did establish an emergency telephone line where callers could denounce crimes committed by immigrants. But an exclusive report in April by Splinter showed hundreds of people were calling the line to anonymously denounce "acquaintances, neighbors, or even their own family members, often to advance petty personal grievances."
The office also launched Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE), an automated database designed to help victims follow the criminal cases of undocumented immigrants in custody.
VINE came under immediate attack by immigration lawyers, who complained that three- and four-year-olds were included among the criminals. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE and VOICE, acknowledged the mistake and corrected it.
But soon afterward several human rights groups complained that the database contained the names of immigrants who were victims of crimes like sex trafficking and domestic violence.