What to Know About Trump’s New ‘Crime Reduction’ Executive Orders
President Donald Trump is continuing his lawmaking via executive orders again with a new batch of EOs signed last week that he claims will address “crime reduction in the United States. But what is in each order, how are they allegedly reducing crime, and what are the potential concerns?
Like most of Trump’s new policies, the answer is far more complicated than it initially appears.
According to CNN, one bill will create a “Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety,” which according to the news station “will develop ‘strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime,’ propose new legislation, and submit at least one report to the President within the next year.”
A second bill, “aimed at combating transnational drug cartels, prescribes steps for various federal agencies to ‘increase intelligence.’”
The third will enhance the Justice Department’s ability to “prosecute those who commit crimes against law enforcement officers.”
But like so many of Trump’s executive orders, these “crime reduction” policies are again about taking advantage of a non-existence issue in order to increase the power of his allies – in this case the police officers and law enforcement agencies.
“President Trump intends to build task forces to investigate and stop national trends that don’t exist,” said Jeffery Robinson, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality in a press statement. “We have seen historic lows in the country’s crime rate and a downward trend in killings against police officers since the 1980s. The president not only doesn’t acknowledge these facts about our nation’s safety, he persists in ignoring the all-too-real deaths of Black and brown people at the hands of law enforcement. There are some cities that have had recent rises in violent crime, and they deserve help. And every locality in America wants to further reduce crime and violence. But task forces premised on misinformation, and looking in the wrong places for the wrong problems, are not the answer.”
According to Amnesty International, if the Trump administration had real interest in decreasing potential violence against officers, they would invest in activities that help deescalate tensions between officers and citizens, especially as punishment for those who harm a law enforcement official is already more than ample – and much more severe than in many countries.
According to an Amnesty International statement:
“This order does nothing to address real and serious problems in the U.S. criminal justice system. Relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve could instead be improved by investing in reform of the criminal justice system and better training for officers. Police already have laws protecting them, but there is no federal standard for the prosecution of officers who unlawfully kill civilians. Implementing a standard for lethal force in line with international standards will protect both police and civilians.”
Currently, all 50 states already have laws that make it a serious crime to assault or kill a law enforcement officer. No states have laws that meet international standards on the use of lethal force. Federal law requires the death penalty – which Amnesty International opposes in all circumstances — or a life sentence for killing a federal officer, and imposes a death or life sentence for killing a local officer involved in a federal investigation.
In fact, the additional power being given to law enforcement is likely to create an imbalance between law enforcement and everyday Americans that will make it even more difficult to press against police misconduct and brutality. Of course, that’s probably the point of it all in the first place. From large scale federal policies like Trump’s executive orders to state-based legislation like North Dakota’s bills to ban adults wearing masks and protect people who harm protesters by hitting them with cars, the ability to dissent against a growing police state is ebbing away day by day.
When it comes to increased public safety and stopping crime, MaryKate Jasper at The Mary Sue probably puts it best. “Indeed, the only crime category that seems to be rising at an alarming rate is hate crimes and bias-related incidents. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll see any legislation to address that from this administration.”
If only there were an executive order coming down the pipeline to address that problem. But I won’t be holding my breath.
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