Stating the Obvious

Mona Charen states the obvious: “There are good and bad arguments against immigration.”

In today’s overheated political climate, though, the obvious gets drowned by sensational horrors. The horrors are truly horrific, but they aren’t typical.

Charen writes, “I am sympathetic to some restrictionist points, but smearing immigrants as out-of-control criminals is shameful. High rates of immigration, legal and illegal, are not associated with spikes in crime. In our recent history, between 1990 and 2013, the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. more than tripled to 11.2 million. Yet FBI data indicate that the violent-crime rate declined by 48 percent during those years. This included violent crimes like aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. Rates of property crime fell by 41 percent, including declining rates of motor-vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary.”

She mentions a Cato Institute study showing that “immigrants — both legal and illegal — are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans. And when you exclude those illegal immigrants who are jailed for immigration offenses (i.e., just for being here illegally), the numbers really plunge. Looking at the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Cato notes that illegal immigrants are 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans. Legal immigrants are 69 percent less likely to be jailed than natives.” Another study found that “while the foreign-born make up 35 percent of California’s population, they represent 17 percent of the state-prison population.”

The obvious can’t be stated too often: There are good and bad arguments against immigration.

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