Conservative blogs are fond of spreading statistics like, “Most Federal Crimes Involve Immigration, Drugs and are Executed by Hispanics” [Judicial Watch].
This is highly misleading. In most cases, the crime in question is the illegal immigration itself, which says little about immigrants rates of other kinds of crime. In fact, if there is a link between immigration and crime, it seems to be inverse — i.e., immigrants are on average less likely to commit crimes.
Articles like the one linked above perfectly illustrate a point I often make with the Socratic method in the immigration debate. I ask opponents of illegal immigration which part they oppose — the “illegal” part, or the “immigrant.”
After watching their bizarre contortions for a minute or so, I usually declare victory.
… But what about terrorists?
1 in 3.8 million.
That is the likelihood of dying in a terrorist attack committed by an illegal immigrant to the United States based on numbers compiled by Alex Nowrasteh from 1975 through 2017.
Alex has been on my show many times to debunk the many myths around immigration, including the argument that “this time it’s different” — that this wave of immigrants will not assimilate, or that these immigrants are only here for welfare benefits or are suppressing the wages of native workers.
Alex joins me this Sunday to review these myths, but more importantly, to go on the offensive against the biggest myth of all: that being pro-America requires a person to be anti-immigrant.
The GOP wants to be known as the party of freedom and opportunity, but they continue to confuse their facts, as both parties deny immigrants a legal status that would promote voluntary exchange and the rule of law.
As it stands, we set up cruel incentives for immigrants to live and work here illegally — in the shadow of the law — making them criminals in name only. People scapegoat them as lawless parasites, when something closer to the opposite is true.
… But what about disease?
There have been justified concerns from both sides about the uptick in deaths at detention centers, where thousands of immigrants have been quarantined for mumps and influenza. Children dying in custody at ICE centers is a humanitarian crisis, but it shouldn’t distract from the greater travesty that is preventing immigrants from pursuing a better life in the U.S.
That’s what America was supposed to be all about. We naturalized just as many immigrants as today in absolute numbers in 1910 as we do today:
“About one million legal immigrants come annually, the same number as in 1910, when the United States had about 71 percent fewer people. Adjusting for the size of the U.S. population, annual immigrant flows today are only about one-fourth the per capita annual flow in 1910.”
The great scandal should not be that so many people are coming across the border, but that the Federal Government has abdicated its responsibility to naturalize them.
The result is a deeply immoral system, as Victor Davis Hanson notes, which wreaks havoc on the rule of law by creating an unenforceable set of laws and turning masses of innocent people into criminals. The fact that we allow people who show up at the border to come through illegally and remain “illegals” is a travesty, but the answer is not to send them back to where they came from.
We need to break out of the stale debate over immigration and return to the great American tradition of open immigration. Wall or no wall, we should welcome more immigrants.
Tune into the show of ideas, not attitude, and call in at any time to join my conversation with Alex:
The Immorality of Illegal Immigration | National Review by Victor Davis Hanson