Today’s Report: Trump Administration’s “Law and Order” Policing Priorities
The Youth Justice Coalition has been monitoring the threats of Donald Trump, his advisors and appointees regarding what his administration will mean for youth and community criminalization, policing, incarceration and deportation.
Early on, several of his advisors and potential cabinet members have said that a top goal of the new administration should be to prioritize for deportation “anyone who is designated a gang member” and anyone “who has been arrested.” Given how easy it is to be designated a gang member by law enforcement in California – usually without any charges or arrest – and how inaccurate and unaccountable these databases have been proven to be – (revealed through community organizing and now through a state audit of CalGang that we were able to get last year) – we have been working with groups across the state to try and eliminate federal access to gang databases. This has included working on Senate Bill 54 (Senator DeLeon) to include that federal access to California databases cannot be used for immigration purposes. This effort, however, may be mostly symbolic given federal law enforcement’s multiple relationships and opportunities to work closely with local and state law enforcement.
As further evidence of how fast the Trump administration is moving forward aggressive “law and order” priorities, yesterday, Trump said in his speech that:
…for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists… Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; … and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. (Note: This is the first time we can find gangs mentioned in a President’s Inaugural speech.)
After all his pronouncements regarding “buying American,” ending foreign countries’ “stealing of our jobs,” and a commitment to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” from the earth, Trump also said regarding discrimination that we have no fear if we just become more nationalistic: “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” (Hmmmm. We wonder what happened in 1890 at Wounded Knee.)
In addition, at the very moment that Donald Trump was sworn in yesterday as President of the United State, the White House website was changed. You can access the new site here: www.whitehouse.gov/
Most notably, the Office of Civil Rights and a section on protecting LGBTQ rights was removed from the White House site. Included on the new site was this section (directly below) that you can access here: www.whitehouse.gov/law-enforcement-community
Here is what the Trump Administration includes on the site about expansion, support and lack of accountability for domestic policing with our comments in parentheses. Please let us know what your thoughts are on all of this, including how we can all continue to build a movement to protect youth of color, our communities, our friends and family inside jails and prisons, as well as all who are facing immigrant enforcement, detention and deportation.
Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community
One of the fundamental rights of every American is to live in a safe community. A Trump Administration will empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our streets free of crime and violence. The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it. (Crazy how the right talks about how threatened police are and claims there is a war between law enforcement and communities. But the bullets are only flying one way. Even in the rare, intentional targeting of law enforcement, the shooters were former military – U.S. government trained and equipped snipers just returning home from the front lines of our war, surely suffering from PTSD and trauma. Something to address we think when Trump’s rhetoric threatens nearly every other nation on the planet. Meanwhile, LA County leads the nation with nearly 700 civilians killed by law enforcement since 2000. But, okay Trump. Let’s get even more ready, be vigilant, look out for each other, let’s all create our defense and protection strategies.)
The Trump Administration is committed to reducing violent crime. In 2015, homicides increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. (Fact check: The President’s facts about homicide increases is false. Most cities – even those with slight increases – are seeing homicide at their lowest levels since the 1950s and 1960s. DC’s homicide rate is actually down from last year.)
Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement, and more effective policing. Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter. Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school. (Note: Frustrating that he talks about needing more law enforcement when LAPD already takes nearly 54% of the city budget – and that doesn’t even include federal funds and equipment. Scary that he only names protesters as people to make uncomfortable, not the incidents that actually pose a threat to mothers and students to and from school – or the proven, more community engaging, less criminalizing, more cost-effective option: to have trusted community intervention workers provide safe passage programs along school routes.)
Supporting law enforcement means supporting our citizens’ ability to protect themselves. We will uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system. (No mention of the fact that the residents of Chicago and many other cities most impacted by gun violence that Trump claims to want to protect have begged for tighter gun control. Could mean expansion of “Stand Your Ground” type legislation, and federal encouragement and protection for vigilante patrols and militias in communities and along the borders.)
President Trump is committed to building a border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. He is dedicated to enforcing our border laws, ending sanctuary cities, and stemming the tide of lawlessness associated with illegal immigration. (Note: We are proud to be part of the growing movement of organizations calling for “rebel” not just “sanctuary” cities. Trump has also threatened to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities. But, if we can figure out the way to do it, and the political will to support it, the math is clear: We think California gets about $50 billion a year in federal funding; but Californians pay about $240 billion a year in federal taxes. The U.S. needs us a lot more than we need it. As YJC youth leader Maritza Galvez said moments after Trump won the election – “WEST COAST OUT!!!” But, of course, other people have also said that we have a responsibility to stand for and with people in other states. Anyway, some things for all of us to strategize on.)
Supporting law enforcement also means deporting illegal aliens with violent criminal records who have remained within our borders. (Again, we need to figure out how to sever as much as possible local and federal law enforcement contact. This also brings back that tired “good immigrant” vs. “bad immigrant” debate that has divided community and organizational unity in the past. And, of course – many records labeled violent are not, so we must warn everyone that these threats can impact all undocumented people and their families.)
It is the first duty of government to keep the innocent safe, and President Donald Trump will fight for the safety of every American, and especially those Americans who have not known safe neighborhoods for a very long time.
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