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At Townhall: “Look at the Data: Why Trump’s Insistence on a Wall Is the Right Choice for Public Safety”

17 Jan , 2019  

Dr. John Lott has a new piece at Townhall on the debate over whether the wall makes sense. His piece starts this way:

The federal government partial shutdown drags on as politicians can’t agree on what to do with illegal aliens.   Trump wants a wall to keep out “illegal immigrants … bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime,” but Democrats say that a wall is immoral and unnecessary.

The media usually describe illegal aliens in glowing terms.  Many are undoubtedly good people, but new data I have obtained show that illegal aliens as a group are not very law-abiding.

The existing research is fatally flawed.  Most studies just examine all immigrants as a monolithic group, rather than separately studying legal and illegal immigrants.  There is a good reason to believe that people who come to America legally tend to be more law-abiding than those who do so illegally.

Other studies depend on individuals to self-report their criminal histories and even whether they are here illegally.  Illegal aliens may not want to tell a stranger that they have been in prison, fearing that their criminal record and illegal status will make them prime candidates for deportation.

Fortunately, new research from the Crime Prevention Research Center uses newly obtained data on everyone who entered the Arizona prison system from January 1985 through June 2017. This data includes a lot of demographic information including citizenship and documentation status.   The data paint a very disturbing picture of illegal aliens, particularly younger ones.

Over the entire period, illegal aliens were more than twice as likely to be convicted of crimes than other Arizonans.  These convictions are not for illegally being here or for working.  They also served 10% longer prison sentences than did U.S. citizens.

The relative rate that illegal aliens are committing crime depends on not only their share of prisoners, but also their share of the population.  I used Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Naturalization Service for data up to 2012 and PEW Research Center data after that, Arizona averaged 4.8 percent of their population being illegal.  They would have to make up almost 12% of the population to have the same conviction rate as U.S. citizens.

Take murder.   During the period we studied, there were 7,948 convictions out of about 11,900 cases through June last year.  We know the citizenship of 7,905 of those convicted.  Illegal aliens killed 1,037; U.S. citizens 6,812; and legal residents 56.  Illegal aliens make up over 13.1% of the murderers, but just 4.8% of the population.

Compared to American citizens, illegal aliens are more than twice as likely to be convicted for armed robbery, child molestation, and for sexual assault. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

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