June 26, 2022

Republicans just rammed a disturbingly Orwellian crime bill through the House of Representatives

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There is a large faction — perhaps more accurately described as a tumor — within the Republican Party that loves what Donald Trump is doing to this country but simply draw issue with how he’s doing it.


They don’t mind xenophobia, racism, and corporatism infecting our politics, they just hate that their party leader is so open about it. It strips them of plausible deniability. These vile men and women would much rather toil away in darkness, destroying our democracy in peace and quiet.

A bill passed by Republicans in the House today is a harsh reminder that these people might speak better than Trump but they don’t behave better than him. The bill in question is The Community Safety and Security Act of 2018, H.R. 6691. And, as Reason reports, it reclassifies numerous federal crimes as “crimes of violence.”

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This change, in turn, would make these violations deportable offenses, a frightening prospect given the Trump administration’s atrocious immigration record. It’s a blatant attack on vulnerable immigrants.

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Among the crimes that would be deemed “violent” if this bill becomes law are burglary, fleeing, and coercion through fraud, crimes which are clearly, beyond any reasonable argument, nonviolent. Stealing a television isn’t violent. Running away isn’t violent. Fraud isn’t violent. Criminal? Yes. Violent? Of course not.

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The Executive Director of the U.S. Justice Action Network, Holly Harris, provided a statement to Reason over the bill signing. She rightly identified the legislation as “bad policy” pushed through by an “unfair process.”

“Groups on the right and the left are deeply concerned about the bad policy in this bill and the unfair process through which it came to the floor. At a time when we have bipartisan support for criminal justice reforms that will safely reduce incarceration and better prioritize public safety, passing a bill that does just the opposite makes no sense at all,” Harris said.

This bill is the exact opposite of what our lawmakers should be doing. Our country has a dire problem with mass incarceration that deserves immediate, comprehensive solutions. We should be finding a way to lower unnecessary imprisonment, not increase it.

Republicans are attempting to disingenuously paint this regressive bill as a response to a Supreme Court ruling in April that said the immigration law definition of “crimes of violence” was too vague. Rather than clarify the definition, the GOP wants to expand it. This horrific attack on immigrants can’t be allowed to pass the Senate. The racist Republican agenda must be stopped.

Robert Haffey

Robert Haffey is a political writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.

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