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Trump is lying about immigrant crime – and the research proves it

Since he began campaigning, President Trump has demonized Latino immigrants as “criminals.” He has called them “rapists,” drug dealers, “animals” and “bad hombres” who “infest our country.”

He has claimed that immigrant gang members “take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15 and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die.” 

Along the border, he has claimed without any evidence at all, that “[w]omen are tied up, with duct tape on their faces, put in the backs of vans.”

Trump deploys this dehumanizing language to justify his inhumane policies of caging children, shredding the asylum system in violation of the law, shattering families across America, incarcerating tens of thousands of law-abiding people in inhumane prisons, and more. 

But he is wrong.

He is simply lying about the relationship between immigrants and crime. Research has long shown that recent immigrants are no more prone to criminality that native-born Americans. In fact, studies have suggested they are less so.

Now, a new analysis by The Marshall Project, published May 13, has also found no connection between crime and increases in local populations of undocumented immigrants.

Much of the earlier research did not differentiate between immigrants who are authorized to be here and those who are not. For this study, The Marshall Project compared FBI crime data with recent Pew Research Center estimates of undocumented immigration populations, sorted by metropolitan area, over a decade beginning in 2007.

“A large majority of the areas recorded decreases in both violent and property crime between 2007 and 2016, consistent with a quarter-century decline in crime across the United States,” wrote Anna Flag for The Marshall Project. “The analysis found that crime went down at similar rates regardless of whether the undocumented population rose or fell. Areas with more unauthorized migration appeared to have larger drops in crime rates, although the difference was small and uncertain.”

This new study comports with numerous previous studies.

A study published in the academic journal Criminology last year found that undocumented immigration does not increase violence. 

Similarly, the libertarian Cato Institute last year found that immigrants in Texas – both documented and undocumented – were less likely than native-born Americans to be arrested or convicted for homicide, sex crimes or larceny. 

As for cities that welcome immigrants, a 2017 study by the Center for American Progress found that there were 35.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary cities than in nonsanctuary cities. 

These studies add to a growing body of research that all shows the same thing.

Here’s what a Washington Post fact-checker wrote about Trump’s claims during the presidential campaign in 2015: “[A] range of studies show there is no evidence immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans. In fact, first-generation immigrants are predisposed to lower crime rates than native-born Americans. … Immigration and crime levels have had inverse trajectories since the 1990s: immigration has increased, while crime has decreased. Some experts say the influx of immigrants contributed to the decrease in crime rates, by increasing the denominator while not adding significantly to the numerator.

Trump would call all of this evidence “fake news.”

But we know who’s the fake.

Photo by Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters