More immigration means a drop in crime?

We often hear that the rise in immigration is related to crime, including violent crime. Is that true? A look at the evidence shows that border towns in the United States are actually seeing a drop in violent crime, despite increasing drug related violence in Mexico:

During the 1990s, immigration reached record highs and crime rates fell more precipitously than at any time in U.S. history. And cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in rates of homicide and robbery.

The findings by Tim Wadsworth, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, contradict much of the public rhetoric about the relationship between immigration and crime.

As the Arizona Republic reported this month, violent crime in that state’s border towns has remained essentially flat during the past decade even as drug-trade violence on the other side of the border has burgeoned.
If higher rates of immigration were boosting crime rates, one would expect long-term studies to show crime rising and falling over time with the influx and exodus of immigrants. Instead, Wadsworth found the opposite.

Wadsworth’s work tested the hypothesis, famously advanced by Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson, that the rise in immigration could be related to the drop in crime rates.

Quote of the Day: Don’t direct anger towards immigrants

“[C]onservatives who want to seal the border because the liberal elites have taken over are directing their wrath at the wrong people. The problem isn’t the immigrants, it’s the elites and their multicultralist predilections who want to turn America into a loose federation of ethnic groups. Conservatives are right to complain about bilingual education advocacy, anti-American Chicano studies professors, Spanish-language ballots, ethnically gerrymandered voting districts, La Raza’s big government agenda, and so forth. But these problems weren’t created by the women changing the linen at your hotel, or the men building homes in your neighborhood.” - Jason Riley, author of Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders

Shocker: Hispanics Strongly Oppose Arizona Immigration Law

As Steve Chapman said over at Reason, Arizona is now an uncomfortable place for both legal and illegal Hispanic immigrants. This poll bears out that Hispanics perceive this:

By a two-to-one margin Hispanics are more strongly opposed than Americans overall to the recent immigration measure signed in to law in Arizona that would make it a state crime to reside there illegally.

Seven in 10, 70%, of Hispanic respondents said they are somewhat or strongly opposed to the law, compared with 34% of all respondents in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll set for release later today.

Among Hispanics, 27% are somewhat or strongly supportive of Arizona’s law; that compares with 64% of respondents overall.

This girl should not be deported

There is a situation in my home state of Georgia that has caught my attention. Jessica Colotl, a 21 year-old college student with a 3.8 GPA, is being deported for her parents “crime” of seeking a better life for their family:

Kennesaw State University student, Jessica Colotl, 21, will be heading back to her home country of Mexico after her worst nightmare came true when her undocumented status was discovered following a routine traffic stop by university police on her way to class.
Colotl is an undocumented citizen who has lived in the U.S. since she was 7 years old. Her parents came to Atlanta illegally in 1996 from southern Mexico to escape a life of severe poverty. While friends say the family moved around most of Colotl’s childhood, she eventually graduated from Lakeside High School in DeKalb County with a GPA of 3.8, according to Parra. She enrolled at KSU and began taking classes there in the fall of 2006 as a freshman.

For the university’s part, KSU officials said Colotl came to them not as an undocumented citizen, but as a Georgia High School graduate.

Although Colotl explained the situation to Kimsey and presented him with a Mexican driver’s license and an expired Mexican Passport, the officer still arrested her for failure to present a valid driver’s license and took her to Cobb County Jail where she was eventually released to Immigrations Customs Enforcement in Atlanta.

Parra, who met Colotl at the university in 2007, said that as a high schooler Colotl realized her parents brought her to the country illegally and decided to file for documents for herself and a younger sibling. But Parra said she still has yet to receive them.

Kids sent home for wearing shirts with American flag

While I am passionately opposed to the immigration bill passed by the Arizona legislature and general supportive of the right to migrate based on my belief in free markets, the fact that five kids were sent home from school for refusing to turn t-shirts bearing the American flag inside-out is completely unacceptable and a gross violation of free speech:

Administrators at a California high school sent five students home on Wednesday after they refused to remove their American flag T-shirts and bandannas — garments the school officials deemed “incendiary” on Cinco de Mayo.

The five teens were sitting at a table outside Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., on Wednesday morning when Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez asked two of them to remove their American flag bandannas, one of their parents told The boys complied, but were asked to accompany Rodriguez to the principal’s office.

The five students — Daniel Galli, Austin Carvalho, Matt Dariano, Dominic Maciel and Clayton Howard — were then told they must turn their T-shirts inside-out or be sent home, though it would not be considered a suspension. Rodriguez told the students he did not want any fights to break out between Mexican-American students celebrating their heritage and those wearing American flags.

Dariano’s mother, Diana, told she and parents of the other four students are now demanding an apology from officials and are considering a lawsuit.

A couple of the kids appeared on Fox News over the controversy:

Free markets and immigration

Speaking at the Cato Institute in 2008, Jason Riley, a member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, dispeled many of the myths and half-truths promoted by populists and nativists over immigration and also takes issue with many self-professed believers in free markets that make it rail against immigration.

It may be a couple years old, but it’s relevant today given the passage of the immigration bill in Arizona.

How Much Would It Cost To Deport Every Illegal Immigrant? More Than We Can Afford

Preeti Aroon does the math:

If the United States deported all its illegal immigrants at once, how long would the bus convoy be?

a) 18 miles    b) 180 miles    c) 1,800 miles

Answer after the jump …


C, 1,800. To deport the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States en masse, it would take more than 200,000 buses, stretching more than 1,800 miles, according to a December 2009 Center for American Progress (CAP) report. (I did the math, and that would amount to 47.5 feet per bus and 60 people per bus. Of course, in real life, some people would have to be sent home via airplane.)

Republicans Agree: AZ Bill Road To “Police State”

Nathan Newman over at Talking Points Memo put together a great montage of statements from Republicans disenchanted with Arizona’s immigration legislation:

Paranoia over immigration another way to limit your freedom

I completely agree with Matt Welch:

I have sympathy for people who are freaked out by desperate immigrants and ruthless smugglers trampling over their property in southern Arizona, and as I’ve said elsewhere, us pro-immigrant types too easily skate over rule-of-law objections. Federal immigration policy is a failure, and poses real public policy challenges that no amount of righteous indignation and/or handwaving makes disappear.

But anti-illegal immigration crackdowns almost always end up restricting freedom for the rest of us. And giving cops more power is almost always felt more on the receiving end by people–including people just as law-abiding as you and I–who don’t look like the norm. Remember, the stated goal of the new law is “to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” Those who think you can surgically accomplish “attrition” without inflaming and driving out legal residents, too, are kidding themselves. I doubt that many Arizonans themselves believe it.

History has showed that whenever some crisis comes along that governments take advantage of that particular situtation to do things voters or the public may not ordinarily allow them to do.

Here are some examples:

Arizona’s Constitutionally Troubling Immigration Law

Bob Barr has a piece this morning in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the persistent Constitutional problems with Arizona’s new immigration law:

Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, just days old, already is sparking challenges and extensive controversy. Most Republicans, including many self-proclaimed “conservatives” who might otherwise oppose expanding government police powers, have lined up squarely behind this measure. This is mystifying.

The law is fundamentally at odds with principles of federalism designed to reflect proper spheres of authority as between state and federal governments. It also is in conflict with traditional notions that the police are not permitted to stop and detain individuals based on mere suspicion.

Many supporters of this measure appear to have concluded that, since the federal government has not been sufficiently vigorous or consistent in its enforcement of federal laws against illegal immigration, it is perfectly permissible for the states to step up to the plate and take on this responsibility. Interestingly, this argument has rarely, if ever, been employed to justify states stepping into federal law enforcement shoes in any context other than immigration.

Protecting our borders is in fact a singularly federal function; reflecting the fundamental responsibility of the national government to protect our sovereignty. Traditionally, and appropriately, states have not been permitted to assume federal government functions; just as Washington should not be permitted to assert powers properly left to the states. This split of enforcement authority – while in modern times often not honored by the federal government – is codified in the Constitution, including in the Tenth Amendment.

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