Young Immigrants Are 'Straight up Thugs', Says Trump Sheriff David Clarke

Sheriff David Clarke addresses members of the National Rifle Association during their NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at their annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, May 20, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II REUTERS/John Sommers II

A former sheriff and prominent President Donald Trump supporter called "many" of the young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children "straight up thugs," in a tweet on Friday. David Clarke, who still goes by the Twitter handle @SheriffClarke, though he's no longer a lawman in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, tweeted that several news outlets are spreading falsehoods about recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

"Democrats and their PROPAGANDA machine at the NY Times, Washington Post, Huffington Puffington Post, CNN, MSNBC have done a good job of LYING and DEMAGOGUERY when it comes to DACA," Clarke wrote. "These illegal aliens are not all 'Dreamers' many are straight up thugs."

The so-called Dreamers include nearly 800,000 people who were vetted for any criminal history or threat to national security before being accepted into the DACA program created by the Obama administration in 2012. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration would rescind DACA in September. Democrats have vowed to fight the administration over the policy. It's unclear what the GOP will do as the program has bipartisan support among lawmakers and voters.

Democrats and their PROPAGANDA machine at the NY Times, Washington Post, Huffington Puffington Post, CNN, MSNBC have done a good job of LYING and DEMAGOGUERY when it comes to DACA. These illegal aliens are not all “Dreamers” many are straight up thugs.

— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) December 29, 2017

The DACA program granted some undocumented immigrants a work permit and a renewable two-year period of relief from deportation. Recipients can apply for renewal at the end of that period.

Acceptance into the program depends on several factors. Applicants must have arrived in the country before their 16th birthday and must be younger than 31. They must be enrolled in school, be a high school graduate—or have an equivalent certificate, like a GED—or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces. They also cannot have a felony conviction, three misdemeanors of any kind or certain significant misdemeanors like a driving under the influence charge.

Clarke is a polarizing figure. His tweet included a link to an article titled "Cutting Through the Media's Falsehoods About 'Dreamers'" published on, which is funded by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. The article includes an analysis of DACA by the Center for Immigration Studies, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as a hate group. The anti-discrimination organization described the center as "a nativist think tank that churns out a constant stream of fear-mongering misinformation about Latino immigrants." The article included statistics purporting that not all DACA recipients underwent background checks.

David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute—an organization affiliated with the Koch brothers and not known for its liberal ideology—wrote otherwise in the Washington Post in September. "Unauthorized immigrants—the applicant pool for DACA—are much less likely to end up in prison, indicating lower levels of criminality," Bier wrote. "More important, to participate in DACA, applicants must pass a background check. They have to live here without committing a serious offense. If they are arrested, DACA can be taken away even without a conviction."

Clarke had been in line for a senior advisory role at the Department of Homeland Security but removed himself from consideration in June. A Clarke adviser later told The Washington Post that he "believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the president's agenda in a more aggressive role." He is now senior adviser for America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC.

He was given a platform at the opening night of the Republican National Convention in 2016 where he spoke on the theme "Make America Safe Again." Clarke charged the crowd with the statement, "ladies and gentleman, I would like to make something very clear: Blue lives matter in America." He also purported that unrest in cities like Ferguson, Missouri ,showed a "collapse of the social order."

Clarke, who is black, has claimed Black Lives Matters activists and the Islamic State militant group were conspiring to destroy the U.S. His performance as a sheriff drew criticism after four Milwaukee County Jail inmates, one of them mentally ill, died in the span of a year.

The controversies surrounding Clarke did not stop Trump from offering his support earlier this year to the former sheriff. Days after he pardoned another divisive sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Arizona, Trump tweeted a plug for Clarke's book Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America.

A great book by a great guy, highly recommended!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017