Illegal immigrants less likely than rest of us to commit crimes


Steve Chapman DEBUNKS some popular myths about illegal immigrants and argues that certain efforts to crack down on uauthorized foreigners often backfire.

A few excerpts:

It’s no surprise that Arizonans resent the recent influx of unauthorized foreigners, some of them criminals. But there is less here than meets the eye.

The state has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants. But contrary to myth, they have not brought an epidemic of murder and mayhem with them. Surprise of surprises, the state has gotten safer.

Over the last decade, the violent crime rate has dropped by 19 percent, while property crime is down by 20 percent. Crime has also declined in the rest of the country, but not as fast as in Arizona.


Truth is, illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native Americans. Most come here to work, and in their desire to stay, they are generally afraid to do anything that might draw the attention of armed people wearing badges.

El Paso, Texas, is next door to the exceptionally violent Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and easily accessible to illegal entry. Yet it is one of the safest cities in the United States.

In 2007, scholars Ruben Rumbaut and Walter Ewing investigated the issue for the Immigration Policy Center and concluded that “if immigrants suddenly disappeared and the country became immigrant-free (and illegal-immigrant free), crime rates would likely increase.”

UPDATE: Meanwhile, John McCain is peddling the PREPOSTEROUS NOTION that illegal immigrants are intentionally causing traffic accidents.



  1. Mr. Silverback

    Ooh…you hate to see a rookie mistake like that from a veteran.

    OK…try to think through this slowly…since it is against the law to sneak across the border…and they snuck across the border…every single person we’re talking about has committed a crime!

    It’s like holding up an apple and a bag of Jolly Ranchers and saying, “This apple is less likely to be apple flavored than the candies in this bag. EPIC FAIL.

    Plus, I wasn’t aware that a somewhat lower crime rate was a great justification for a porous border and allowing some businesses to screw over their competitors with illegal labor practices.

  2. Silverback demonstrates once again that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Illegal immigration is a civil matter, which means it’s ruled by civil law, not criminal law. Immigration cases are heard in front of an administrative law judge, not a criminal judge.

    Read this:

  3. Silverback apparently didn’t notice what Rudy Giuliani said about illegal immigration during the race for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination:

    “It’s not a crime,” Giuliani said. “I know that’s very hard for people to understand, but it’s not a federal crime.”

    “I was U.S. attorney in the Southern district of New York,” he said. “So believe me, I know this. In fact, when you throw an immigrant out of the country, it’s not a criminal proceeding. It’s a civil proceeding.”

  4. Mr. Silverback


    Let’s pretend for a moment that distiction means squat. Let’s pretend for a moment that a premeditated decision to break a law is not a crime, because the judge is not the same judge that sentences drug dealers.

    The worker who comes here ILLEGALLY and gets a job paid under the table is participating with his employer in a conspiracy to violate labor and tax law. Last time I checked, tax evasion is criminal. The worker who comes here ILLEGALLY and gets a job on the books is almost certainly using a STOLEN Social Security number to do so, as Elvira “Wholed up in a church” Arellano was. So, every time an ILLEGAL alien gets a job ILLEGALLY in this country, they are either violating labor law so a business owner can screw his competitors who follow the law, or they are STEALING another person’s identity.

    Theft from one’s neighbor…day after day after day…but no crime. Yeah, sure. You might as well have said “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

    You guys can spin all you want, but what it boils down to is that you want us to be a nation of men, not laws. NO SALE.

  5. Let’s don’t anyone try to support Silverback’s misinformed opinion on this matter by noting that the Arizona legislature approved a bill the other day that makes illegal immigration a state crime.

    Here are several important points on that matter:

    1) The bill won’t become law until the governor of Arizona signs it, which hasn’t happened yet.

    2) Legal scholars say the bill is an unconstitutional usurpation of federal law.

    3) The bill is opposed by the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the local governments of the border cities of Yuma and Sierra Vista.

  6. Silverback: Your attempt to shift gears (comment No. 5) after I categorically disproved the argument you made in comment No. 1 is pretty feeble.

    But keep trying, Gringo Boy.

  7. Mr. Silverback


    I didn’t shift gears, I showed why your argument is even dumber than it first appeared. Even if we pretend that a premeditated decision to break the law is not morally criminal because of a nitnoy point of law, that just means the person starts committing crimes after they cross the border.

    You’re defending “economic activities” that depend on someone (sometimes multiple people conspiring) either committing tax fraud and engaging in unfair competition or identity theft. Theft from one’s neighbor…day after day after day…but no crime. Yeah, sure.

  8. Craig Knauss

    I have to disagree with this story. I live in an area that is getting overrun by illegals. And the crime rate is NOT going down. It is going up. We are becoming plagued by gangs, meth labs, graffiti, drive-by shootings, burglaries, auto theft, stabbings, drunken driving, you name it. It’s almost always done by an illegal or the offspring of an illegal. We just started the trial of a man who murdered five people then fled back to Mexico years ago. He was finally caught and extradited. The author of your story needs to do more research.

  9. I read the original article from Social Science Quarterly, First Tim Wadsworth used and I am quoting from the SSQ website ” ordinary least squares regression models to assess the cross-sectional relationship between immigration patterns and rates of homicide and robbery among U.S. cities with populations of at least 50,000 with the results of “immigration is associated with higher levels of homicide and robbery” then he applied a second method of calculations “Second, I employ pooled cross-sectional time-series models to determine how changes in immigration influenced changes in homicide and robbery rates between 1990 and 2000. Using this method he found and I quote “sectional time-series models suggest that cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in homicide and robbery during the same time period.”. In the authors conclusion he states that immigration “may have been responsible” for the decrease in crime. Of course there are other factors not accounted for like with the increased of illegal immigrates who would not want any contact with police officials to include reporting crimes committed against them. if your city population is growing with people who are not willing to report crimes against them. Then your crime averages will decrease even if actual crimes committed stay the same or increase but at a lesser rate than the increasing population

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