03 May 2010

The Arizona Emergency

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Yesterday, our friend Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm linked the generally admirable Clarice Feldman at American Thinker who was editorializing from the perspective opposite to my own on immigration.

Ms. Feldman quoted some alarming, and authoritative sounding, statistics from “the Law Enforcement Examiner.”

On April 7, 2007, the US Justice Department issued a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails.

In the population study of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.

They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses.

More than two-thirds of the defendants charged with an immigration offense were identified as having been previously arrested. Thirty-six percent had been arrested on at least 5 prior occasions; 22%, 2 to 4 times; and 12%,1 time.

Clarice Feldman ought to have inquired a little more more closely.

“The Law Enforcement Examiner” is actually an editorialist named Jim Kouri. Mr. Kouri’s biography identifies him as a former chief security guard at a housing project in Washington Heights and the “fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police” which, I expect, must be roughly on a par with being First Guard of the Tent at one’s local International Order of Oddfellows chapter.

Mr. Kouri is renowned on the Internet for his expertise on Satanism and for the exoticism of the views of some sources he has in the past relied upon.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kouri is not himself a reliable source. He tells us that his statistics come from “a report on criminal aliens that were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails” issued by the US Justice Department on April 7, 2007.

It is not accidental that Mr. Kouri does not link the original report.

The report in question was really released on May 9, 2005. It is GAO report number GAO-05-646R entitled ‘Information on Certain Illegal Aliens Arrested in the United States.’

The figures cited all pertain to 2002-2003. Mr. Kouri (and the study’s authors) deliberately selected the best figures for making certain kinds of arguments in the quoted paragraphs.

In reality, this study pertains to 55,322 individual illegal aliens who are the portion of the illegal alien population that wound up arrested, convicted, and sentenced to jail.

55,322 out of the seven million illegal aliens estimated to be present in the United States by this same study is the 0.0079 portion of that illegal immigrant population, well under 1%.

And the character of their crimes?

Forty-five percent of illegal alien offenses were for drugs and immigration;

8% for Traffic violations;

7% for Obstruction of Justice.

60% of the under 1% of illegals in jail in 2002-2003 were not even in jail for any form of theft or violence.

And, more recently, both illegal immigration and violent crime have actually been declining (even while la patrie est en danger reports are dramatically increasing).


[S]tatistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the FBI indicate that both the number of illegal crossers and violent crime in general have actually decreased in the past several years.

According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona’s population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.

According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill “overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.”

If we really looked at the facts, we could only conclude that illegal immigration is not the same thing as narcotics smuggling and, by and large, illegal immigrants tend to be more law-abiding and less violent than us native-born Americans. The public panic and the draconian laws represent responses to misinformation, commonly disseminated by sensationalizing journalists.

Look at AP and Matt Drudge yesterday. or check today’s Wall Street Journal, which blares Killing Stokes Immigration Debate, in reference to Deputy Puroll getting slightly grazed in a minor skirmish with marijuana smugglers. Nobody got killed, and the incident had nothing to with illegal immigration.

3 Feedbacks on "The Arizona Emergency"

Maggie's Farm

Weds. morning links…

High water in Nashville
More Tea Bagger Presbyterian violence
"Say it with roses, say it with mink, but never never say it in ink." Be careful about what you put in emails.
Office jerks: How Dad’s Yelling Can Spawn an Office Tyrant


The WSJ’s reporting is declining in its accuracy, it seems, if the linked example is representative. Assumptions can be dangerous things when reporting news.

Of course, the long-time editorial position of the WSJ (at least before 9/11) was that quite open borders are an advantage as long as there is no welfare bonanza which comes along with immigration.

I think that any time you have laws on the books which are generally not enforced, like federal immigration laws, a wide range of unfortunate things happen. As one example, employers of illegals currently take advantage of their status to transfer many of the costs and risks of employing someone to taxpayers.

Victor Davis Hanson recently pointed out that health, safety and building codes are ignored in rural “shadow areas” where illegals live, but enforced in up-scale neighborhoods. And people now throw whole bags of trash onto rural roads – something he had not observed in the past.

I have lived near many illegal immigrants for years now, once in the city, now in the country. It has been my experience that children of immigrants are more likely to engage in violent, gang-type behavior than illegal immigrants. Their parents are somewhat dependent upon them because of their ability to speak English, which gives them an exaggerated sense of their own power at a young age. If the non-gang type students have Ethnic Studies graduates as teachers, they can become very hostile and difficult to live around. Even threatening sometimes.

I think the reaction in Arizona was “set off” by the ranch murder, after people had tolerated a growing sense of societal disintegration and loss of order for years. The officer shooting came later. The only connection I can see to illegal immigration is that the violent drug-runners and cross-border gangs use more typical illegal immigrants as “cover”.

The reports of serious, sometime seemingly uncontrolled violence on the Mexican side of the border must also be disquieting where there is so little security at the border.

Thing would be far better if legal immigration were easier. Once upon a time, legal immigrants to the U.S. had “sponsors” who were responsible for them financially if they were unable to work. A return to this policy might help stabilize the immigration situation. It might also make assimilation easier.

Jake the Snake

Nice try bro. Both sides use statistics that are skewed to their preference. The truth is we are being swallowed here on the border by relentless, illegal (criminal) trespassers from Mexico. I needn’t excuse their trespass just because it makes you “feel” good to be on the wrong side of the law. They are criminals. Beyond that, I don;t care what color they are or what country they come from. They are killing our economy. Any contribution they make is negligible relative to the cost of their healthcare and other “free” social services that are sucked out of American taxpayers. This IS a fact. I have lived with it for 54 years. I am my own source. I have seen it up close and first-hand. So, from your vantage point, you may not like it, but is the truth.


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