Arizona governor Jan Brewer justified signing the new Arizona anti-illegal immigrant legislation by claiming it was needed due to a crime wave those illegal immigrants are supposedly perpetrating, and she wasn’t the only one offering that assertion.
But if she really wants to cut back on crime, she should bring in more illegals – the data show they are associated with reduced crime levels, not an increase.
Here’s Governor Brewer in her own words:
“Border violence and crime due to illegal immigration are critically important issues to the people of our state. There is no higher priority than protecting the citizens of Arizona. We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of the drug cartels. We cannot stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings and violence compromise our quality of life.”
According to Arizona’s medieval Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he’s been successful at driving illegal immigrants out of his Maricopa County jurisdiction. Arpaio told CNN that his deputies have already been routinely checking immigration status of those they apprehend, and he hears that illegals have largely fled the area as a result.
Yet Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce told CNN that he believes half the murders in Phoenix are committed by unauthorized immigrants and that the city is the second in the world in kidnappings – implying that this is also the work of illegals. But Phoenix is in Maricopa County, where Sheriff Arpaio supposedly has illegals on the run. Just who is committing all those crimes?
Fortunately we have numbers to look at and analyze, so we don’t have to rely on contradictory claims and those whose political aspirations depend on feeding and then pandering to ignorant citizen’s darkest fears.
First, let’s look at how many illegal immigrants there are in Arizona, and how that number has changed over the years.
From 1992 to 2008 the number of illegals in Arizona increased five-fold, from just about 100,000 to approximately 560,000 before dropping by 100,000 or so as the economy tanked. (Over that same period, Arizona’s total population increased from just over 3.8 million to around 6.5 million.)
Of course these numbers for illegals are estimates, it is very difficult to get an exact count, but there is enough closeness in the estimates from different organizations using differing methodology that the numbers are probably reliable. So let’s all agree that the number of illegals in Arizona has risen significantly over the past two decades.
But what about Arizona crime? Has it also skyrocketed, as the governor and other supporters of a crackdown have asserted? No. In fact, since 1995 when illegal immigrant numbers began to climb the crime rate has steadily declined!
The evidence from these data is clear and convincing: the more illegal immigrants there are, the lower the crime rate.
We shouldn’t dismiss the stated intentions of Governor Brewer and Senator Pearce or their fellow travelers. Let us assume that they are seriously concerned with crime and want to reduce it. Arizona’s legislature and governor must act, then, not by driving illegals away but by bringing them in. They should immediately pass a “Welcome Illegals Program” and help continue to drive down the crime rate.
Or alternatively, they could pass a law excluding all legal citizens from the state. Draconian, certainly, but sure to be effective. Joe Arpaio has already chased the illegals out of Phoenix, so the major crime wave in the city described by Sen Pearce must stem from crimes committed by citizens – because there aren’t any illegals around anymore.
Can enough political will be mustered by decent people in Arizona to take on the American crime cartel and drive them from the state, so law-abiding illegals can live in peace?
¡Si, Se Puede!