There’s nothing new about any of it, says Harold Meyerson in American
Prospect magazine. Italians were once branded criminals or anarchists;
Jews criminals or communists; and now, according to Trump, Mexicans
are rapists and murderers.
Yet, as Meyerson points out, a recent study by the National Academy of
Sciences makes clear that the linkage between immigrants and crime is
not merely fictitious but actually inverse. After close statistical analysis, the study concludes: 'Immigrants are in fact much less likely to commit crime than natives, and the presence of large numbers of immigrants seems to lower crime rates’. Based on the findings of at least 30 academic papers, the study concludes that foreign-born young men have an incarceration rate that is one-fourth that of native-born, and that 'neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have lower rates of crime and violence' than other socio-economically equivalent neighborhoods.
Indeed, writes Meyerson, the growing number of the foreign-born over the past quarter-century goes a long way to explaining the huge drop in crime and violence that the nation has experienced during that time. The number of murders in New York City dropped from 2,245 in 1990 to 330 last year; in Los Angeles County it fell from 1,944 in 1993 to 681 last year, even as the number and share of their foreign-born residents skyrocketed. Nationally, in 2014, violent crime rates were at their lowest level in 20 years, according to the FBI.
Meyerson concludes: 'The immigrant crime wave that Trump railed about on
Wednesday, while announcing that he’d increase the deportations of
undocumented immigrants, is just the latest entry in his library of
alternative facts, devised to alarm his followers with news of fictitious calamities that he alone can quell'.