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Is The Coming ‘Crackdown On Violent Crime’ Just A Witch Hunt Against Immigrants?


In late October, Attorney General William Barr announced that there would be a new initiative to fight violent crime. According to the announcement, the initiative is geared towards targeting gangs and drug traffickers in high crime cities and dangerous areas. The administration has also announced that one of the purposes of the initiative will be to increase support for law-enforcement endeavors, including recruitment, training, and hiring practices.

However, a number of the administration’s previous initiatives – including going after consent decrees between the feds and local police departments – have been criticized by some civil rights advocates, who argue that it is simply a front for allowing for additional unchecked abuse by local police departments. As a result, some now also have concerns about the current initiative; specifically, some police superintendents, have called the current initiative simply a witch hunt on immigrants, pointing out that what details have been released about the initiative do not comport with the policies of sanctuary cities.

Collecting DNA from Migrants in Order to “Fight Crime”

In fact, just a few days earlier, Barr also announced that the Justice Department would now be collecting DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of immigrants crossing the border – including those seeking asylum – in order to “help authorities fight crime.” A number of immigrant advocates have concerns that this would have implications for family members who already reside in the U.S., as DNA information can of course be used to track down family members, and it will be taken from individuals against their will. The proposal also implicates a number of privacy concerns.

While collecting DNA on criminal suspects is permitted under federal law and a number of states allow someone’s forensic profile to be taken from them even before they are convicted, New York is not one of those states where it is allowed.

A New Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice

Although very few details have been revealed to date, President Trump announced that there will also be an accompanying executive order to establish a new Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. Part of the Commission’s purported responsibility will be to address those problems that the Administration claims influence crime and use up criminal justice resources, such as homelessness and mental illness.  Under the current administration, federal firearms prosecutions increased by 44 percent even though, according to statistics, crime – including violent crime and the murder rate – has decreased over the last two years.

If You Have Been Accused of a State or Federal Crime, Contact Our NYC Criminal Defense & Immigration Attorneys

If you have been targeted for arrest for simply being an immigrant here in New York City or for other reasons, contact our experienced NYC criminal attorneys at the office of Mark I. Cohen, Esq. today to find out how we can help.






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