Outraged Andrea: Helping Immigration Crime Victims is ‘Fearmongering’

In a contentious interview with Republican Congressman Michael McCaul on her MSNBC show on Wednesday, anchor Andrea Mitchell accused President Trump of “fearmongering” during his address to Congress Tuesday night. His supposed offense? Proposing the creation of a government office to aide the victims of criminal illegal aliens.

Mitchell noted: “One of the things he did emphasize is setting up this special so-called V.O.I.C.E. unit within Homeland to deal with the victims of people who’ve been victimized by violent crimes from undocumented immigrants.” Following a clip of that portion of the speech, she grilled McCaul:

Now, one might question why an office devoted to the victims of immigration crimes, why the victims there as a guests, when according to fact checks, The New York Times, the Congressional Research Service, The Washington Post, that undocumented immigrants are far less likely to commit violent crimes – other than the crime of coming across the border illegally – than American-born [citizens]....Why this focus? Isn't this trying to arouse people's fears when there really isn't an issue?

The House Homeland Security Committee chairman began to respond: “Well, you know, I was a federal prosecutor, we had an office of crime victims. When I prosecuted a case, we always reached out to the victim of the crime.” Mitchell interrupted: “But not victims specifically of undocumented immigrants. I'm talking about the fearmongering that some would suggest is in play to try to make people afraid of the other, of immigrants – unfairly.”

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McCaul acknowledged: “Well, I think it's probably true that the majority of illegal immigrants in the country are not, you know, criminal offenders...” However, he also pointed out that “There are a lot of documented cases of criminal aliens perpetrating pretty horrific crimes.” He further explained:

I went down there with the Speaker and we got an intelligence briefing about the threats south of the border, the drug cartels, the human trafficking, the drug trafficking, potential terrorists, and those are real issues. And I think there are – you can't dispute that there are victims of criminal alien activity.

Mitchell replied: “No, I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying that the numbers don't add up.”

McCaul pushed back: “Well, I think it's real. I've seen case by case of criminal aliens assaulting, you know, innocent Americans.”

Here is a transcript of the March 1 exchange:

12:10 PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: One of the things he did emphasize is setting up this special so-called V.O.I.C.E. unit within Homeland to deal with the victims of people who’ve been victimized by violent crimes from undocumented immigrants. Let me play that part of the speech and ask you about it on the other side.

DONALD TRUMP: We are removing gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak, and as I’ve promised. We must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called V.O.I.C.E., Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

MITCHELL: Now, one might question why an office devoted to the victims of immigration crimes, why the victims there as a guests, when according to fact checks, The New York Times, the Congressional Research Service, The Washington Post, that undocumented immigrants are far less likely to commit violent crimes – other than the crime of coming across the border illegally – than American-born. Census data showing from 1980 through 2010, that young men aged 18 to 49, immigrants were one-half to one-fifth as likely to be incarcerated as those born here in the U.S. Why this focus? Isn't this trying to arouse people's fears when there really isn't an issue?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL [R-TX]: Well, you know, I was a federal prosecutor, we had an office of crime victims. When I prosecuted a case, we always reached out to the victim of the crime.

MITCHELL: But not victims specifically of undocumented immigrants. I'm talking about the fearmongering that some would suggest is in play to try to make people afraid of the other, of immigrants – unfairly.

MCCAUL: Well, I think it's probably true that the majority of illegal immigrants in the country are not, you know, criminal offenders, but what he has done is focused on the criminal alien and that's been the focus of the deportation. There are a lot of documented cases of criminal aliens perpetrating pretty horrific crimes. The case in San Francisco was a good example of that. I have seen many of these come to my desk as well. That’s why securing the border, I think, is so important to stop the flow. You know, these cartels – I went down there with the Speaker and we got an intelligence briefing about the threats south of the border, the drug cartels, the human trafficking, the drug trafficking, potential terrorists, and those are real issues. And I think there are – you can't dispute that there are victims of criminal alien activity. And I think what the President is saying...

MITCHELL: No, I'm not disputing that.

MCCAUL: ...is there should be an office that addresses that.

MITCHELL: I'm just saying that the numbers don't add up. Didn't mean to interrupt you, sorry.

MCCAUL: Well, I think it's real. I've seen case by case of criminal aliens assaulting, you know, innocent Americans. And I think obviously this is a priority issue for him and he's highlighting it in his address to Congress and we're going to be looking at the formation of this office and perhaps, out of my committee, authorizing it.

(...)

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