All Boards => Current Events => Topic started by: wvit1001 on 10 29, 18, 04:54:21:PM

Title: Trump Shut Down Programs to Counter Violent Extremism
Post by: wvit1001 on 10 29, 18, 04:54:21:PM
The administration has hobbled the infrastructure designed to prevent atrocities like Pittsburgh.

In the waning days of Barack Obama’s administration, the Department of Homeland Security awarded a set of grants to organizations working to counter violent extremism, including among white supremacists. One of the grantees was Life After Hate, which The Hill has called “one of the only programs in the U.S. devoted to helping people leave neo-Nazi and other white supremacy groups.” Another grant went to researchers at the University of North Carolina who were helping young people develop media campaigns aimed at preventing their peers from embracing white supremacy and other violent ideologies. But soon after Trump took office, his administration canceled both of these grants. In its first budget, it requested no funding for any grants in this field.

It’s part of a pattern of neglect. The grants were administered by the Office of Community Partnerships, which works intimately with local governments and community organizations to prevent jihadist and white-nationalist radicalization. In Obama’s last year, according to the former director, George Selim, the office boasted 16 full-time employees, roughly 25 contractors, and a budget of more than $21 million. The Trump administration has renamed it the Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships, and cut its staff to eight full-time employees and its budget to less than $3 million.

This decline can’t be chalked up to general budget cuts. Although Trump has slashed funding for many domestic departments, he increased Department of Homeland Security spending by more than 7 percent in his first budget and another 4 percent in his second. The cuts stem instead from two biases. First, in keeping with their law-and-order mentality, Trump officials would rather empower the police to arrest suspected terrorists than work with local communities to prevent people from becoming terrorists in the first place, as the Office of Community Partnerships did. Second, they believe the primary terrorist threat to Americans is jihadism, not white supremacy. The Office of Community Partnerships committed the sin of working on both.

From a public-policy perspective, that’s exactly what the government should be doing. In 2017, the FBI concluded that white supremacists killed more Americans from 2000 to 2016 than “any other domestic extremist movement.”