Friday, July 09, 2010

A Little Reminder About Immigration and Arizona

... from Dana Milbank:
"Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," [Arizona Governor Jan Brewer] announced on local television...

The Arizona Guardian Web site checked with medical examiners in Arizona's border counties and the coroners said they had never seen an immigration-related beheading. I called and e-mailed Brewer's press office requesting documentation of decapitation; no reply...

This matters, because it means the entire premise of the Arizona immigration law is a fallacy. Arizona officials say they've had to step in because federal officials aren't doing enough to stem increasing border violence. The scary claims of violence, in turn, explain why the American public supports the Arizona crackdown...

Two months ago, the Arizona Republic published an exhaustive report that found that, according to statistics from the FBI and Arizona police agencies, crime in Arizona border towns has been "essentially flat for the past decade." For example, "In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Last year, despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes." The Pima County sheriff reported that "the border has never been more secure."

FBI statistics show violent crime rates in all of the border states are lower than they were a decade ago -- yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is "the worst I have ever seen." President Obama justifiably asserted last week that "the southern border is more secure today than any time in the past 20 years," yet Rush Limbaugh judged the president to be "fit for the psycho ward" on the basis of that remark.

Similar discussion in this earlier post, which notes that: a key defense in their arguments, proponents [of the new Arizona law] point to the incarceration rate as a supposed indicator of a relatively high crime rate among illegal immigrants. A decreasing incarceration rate is thus implicit in this argument as an indicator of successful policy because this would entail reduced crime, right? By further criminalizing a larger portion of the state population, however, the incarceration rate of illegal immigrants will only increase. The law is thus unsuccessful by its own logic.

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