Human rights groups have expressed alarm over Donald Trump’s decision to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants in the US, saying the “shocking” and “xenophobic” move will “terrorise communities across the US”.
The US President issued an executive order on Wednesday titled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” which signed into law many of his most extreme immigration policies,.
It included an instruction that the Secretary for Homeland Security should “on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens” in the US.
The list will also name so-called “sanctuary cities” that are refusing to hand over immigrant residents for deportation.
Mr Trump’s instructions do not specify that only crimes by illegal immigrants should be included – meaning even offences committed by immigrants living in the US legally could be published.
Human rights charities reacted with alarm, saying the policy was discriminatory and amounted to publishing a “weekly hate list” of immigrants.
Human Rights Watch said the move was a sign of Mr Trump’s “xenophobia” and was “shocking in the extreme”.
Andrew Stroehlein, the charity’s European Media Director, told The Independent: “This is completely consistent with Trump’s xenophobic demonising of immigrants throughout the campaign, of course, but the idea of a public list like this – a kind of weekly hate list – is still shocking in the extreme.
“The measures this administration has announced against immigrants in its first few days will devastate families – including US citizen families, naturally – and terrorise communities across the country.”
Fears were also raised by Amnesty International, whose UK Refugee Programme Director, Steve Symonds, said: “Singling out a section of society in such an obviously negative way would be reckless.
“It risks seriously adding to fear and anxiety – already dangerously inflamed by poisonous rhetoric, including from the US President – relating to migrants and those perceived to be migrants.”
Mr Trump’s executive order said:
To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a 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.
The Republican also used the order to sign into law his commitment to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, deport illegal immigrants, establish new immigration detention centres and hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents.
He claimed the measures were needed to “ensure the safety and territorial integrity of the United States” and said illegal immigrants “present a significant threat to national security and public safety”.
On signing the law, the President read out the names of US citizens who were murdered by illegal immigrants.
Mr Trump has repeatedly used derogatory terms to talk about immigrant communities.
Speaking during the presidential campaign about Mexican migrants, he said: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people”.
The Republican promised to deport 11 million undocumented migrants from the US in the first two years of his presidency, although later reduced this to “probably two million, even three million”.
In response, the Democrat mayors of US cities including New York, Chicago and Seattle said they would not co-operate with government attempts to deport immigrants.
Mr Trump has now issued a command that these cities should be named and starved of federal funds – a move some experts say is illegal.
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