Trump calls for new government agency for 'victims of crime' by immigrants

Trump: Murder rate is not acceptable in our society
Trump: Murder rate is not acceptable in our society

President Donald Trump called on the Department of Homeland Security to "create an office to serve American victims" of crimes committed by immigrants.

In his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, Trump said the office will be called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE).

"We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests," Trump said.

This office, Trump said, would support the "victims of crime," though he made no explanation of why the targets of crime perpetrated by immigrants should receive the support of a new federal government agency that apparently excludes the victims of crime committed by U.S. citizens.

Trump has made several, sometimes unsupported claims related to crime committed by immigrants, and used that rhetoric as a pretext for his restrictive immigration policies.

Though Trump said the new office will target criminal actors, he did not produce any evidence that immigrants commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the United States.

The U.S. violent crime rate has plunged dramatically since about 1990.

In an emotional tribute, the president named four people in the audience whose family members were affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

While Trump cites specific instances of violence committed by immigrants, many studies have found that, in general, immigrants are actually less likely to commit violent crimes.

One analysis of Census data found that immigrants are institutionalized at one-fifth the rate of native-born Americans.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.