President Donald Trump, despite the fact that illegal immigrants don’t commit the majority of crime in the United States, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, has instructed the Department of Homeland Security to “make a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens.”
“If, however, Trump’s goal is stigmatizing a vulnerable class of people, then publicizing their crimes—and their crimes alone—makes sense. It’s been a tactic bigots have used more than a century.
“Using crime to incite hatred has a long history in the United States. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, notes that for at least a century after the end of slavery, northern newspapers generally identified African Americans accused of committing crimes as ‘negro’ or 'colored.” Southern newspapers generally referred to the offender as a ‘negro criminal’ in bold—using the individual’s name and ‘the negro’ interchangeably in the story. White criminals, by contrast, were not identified by race. (This tradition continues at Breitbart, which has a special category for ‘black crime.’)”