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Is there a wave of migrant crimes as Trump says? The data does not support his accusation

2024-03-01T00:33:34.718Z

Highlights: Is there a wave of migrant crimes as Trump says? The data does not support his accusation. Despite the former president's campaign rhetoric, expert analysis and available data show that, beyond horrific high-profile incidents, there is no evidence of an immigrant-driven crime wave in the United States. The Justice Department report found that there was no evidence that the authorized immigrant population at city level has an impact on homicide rates. The campaign claims, without evidence, that these statistics hide the serious problem of immigrant crime.


Despite the former president's campaign rhetoric, expert analysis and available data show that, beyond horrific high-profile incidents, there is no evidence of an immigrant-driven crime wave in the United States.


By Olympia Sonnier and Garrett Haake -

NBC News

When Donald Trump spoke this Thursday at the southern border of Texas, he referred to alleged high-profile crimes committed by irregular immigrants, something that he has elevated in previous speeches to the level of category, defined by himself as "immigrant crimes": a terrifying wave of criminal activity committed by undocumented people that spreads throughout the country.

“In New York, crime is through the roof, and it's called

'immigrant crime

,'” the former president said at a campaign event in Michigan earlier this month.

“They beat up police officers.

They break in, stab, wound and shoot people.

It's a whole new way, and now they have gangs that are making our gangs look like nothing."

Donald Trump, in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 24, 2024.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

Trump has undoubtedly tapped into growing anger over crimes allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants that have garnered national attention.

The most recent: the murder of college student Laken Riley in Georgia last week, after which an undocumented immigrant from Venezuela was arrested and charged with her murder;

and the widely reported fight between New York police officers and a group of immigrant teenagers.

According to a recent Pew survey, 57% of Americans think that large numbers of immigrants trying to enter the country leads to more crime.

Republicans (85%) mostly affirm that the wave of immigrants results in an increase in criminal acts in the United States.

A much smaller share of Democrats (31%) think the same.

The poll found that 63% of Democrats say it doesn't have much impact.

But despite the former president's campaign rhetoric, expert analysis and available data from police departments in major cities show that despite several horrific high-profile incidents, there

is no evidence of a crime wave. driven by immigrants in the United States

.

That won't change the way Trump refers to immigrants in his bid to return to the White House, and he claims that President Joe Biden's immigration policies are making Americans less safe.

Trump has claimed that voters should hold Biden personally responsible for every crime committed by an undocumented immigrant.

An NBC News analysis of available data on crime in 2024 in cities that have been targeted by Texas' Operation Lone Star, which transports migrants by bus or plane from the border to major cities in the country, shows that

general crime levels have decreased

in

metropolises that have received more immigrants.

Overall crime has declined year over year in Philladelphia, Chicago, Denver, New York and Los Angeles.

Crime has increased in Washington, DC, but local authorities do not attribute the spike to immigrants.

[A court in Texas temporarily blocks the SB4 law, which made irregular border crossings a state crime]

“This is a problem of public perception.

It's always based on these types of events where an immigrant commits a crime,” explained Graham Ousey, a professor at the College of William & Mary and co-author of

Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock

.

“There is no evidence that there is any relationship between someone's immigrant status and their connection to a crime.”

Ousey noted the emotional charge of these incidents and how they can influence public perception: “They can be really egregious acts of criminality that get a lot of attention and involve someone who happens to be an immigrant.

And if you have leaders, political leaders who are really pushing that narrative, I think that would tend to add to the myth.”

“At least a couple of recent studies show that undocumented immigrants are also no more likely to engage in crime,” Ousey said, in part because of caution about their immigration status.

“Individual-level studies actually show that they are less involved than native-born citizens or second-generation immigrants.”

Another misconception often cited by critics is that crime is more prevalent in “sanctuary cities.”

But a Justice Department report found that “there was no evidence that the percentage of unauthorized or authorized immigrant population at the city level has an impact on changes in homicide rates, and there is no evidence that immigration is connected with theft at the city level.”

The Trump campaign

claims, without evidence, that these statistics hide the problem

.

“Democrat cities purposely fail to document when crimes are committed by illegal immigrants, because they do not want American citizens to know the truth about the dangerous impact Joe Biden's open border is having on their communities,” Karoline stated in a statement. Leavitt, Trump campaign press secretary.

“However, Americans know that immigrant crime is a serious and growing threat;

and the murder, rape or abuse of a single innocent citizen at the hands of an illegal immigrant is one too many.”

Trump has been insisting on the argument that immigrants bring crime since he launched his first campaign in 2015, and has often featured at his campaign events relatives of people who died at the hands of undocumented immigrants who had drunk and driven a car.

His statements are not new: those who oppose immigration have been trying to prove that immigrants cause crime for a long time.

National crime data, especially those relating to undocumented immigrants, are notoriously incomplete.

National data arrive in a fragmentary way and can only be evaluated globally when annual statistics are published.

[We witness a deportation in the border city that Biden will visit.

“Don't take the risk,” ICE tells migrants]

Data on the number of crimes committed each year by immigrants is incomplete, especially because most local police do not record a person's immigration status when they are detained.

However, studies that have been done on the matter, the most recent from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, show that in Texas, where the police do record immigration status, immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita.

In December 2020, researchers studying Texas crime statistics found that “contrary to public perception, we see significantly

lower felony arrest rates among undocumented immigrants

compared to legal immigrants and native-born U.S. citizens.” country, and we found no evidence that crime among undocumented immigrants has increased in recent years.”

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Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2024-03-01

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