Amid boiling controversy and mounting anger over his “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants, and detention of innocent children separated from their parents, President Trump pulled out all the stops today to ramp up hatred of illegal immigrants as a way to justify his horrendous policies.
Trump hosted “Angel families” at the White House – people who have lost relatives because of crime by illegal aliens – who stood with him as he replayed his anti-immigrant campaign speeches and spewed crime statistics without any context.
But it was another move that truly captured the full extent of his narcissism. Trump put his signature on photos of their dead sons, daughters, and other “loved ones,” using them to get an emotional visceral reaction in front of the cameras.
🚨 TRUMP HAS AUTOGRAPHED THE PHOTOS OF MURDER VICTIMS 🚨 pic.twitter.com/59wf455ak7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 22, 2018
“These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones,” said Trump. “The word you have to think about is ‘permanently’ because they were killed by illegal immigrants. These are the families that the media ignores. This is a very unfair situation.”
Trump might have mentioned something else you will not hear in his speeches, rants about immigrants and midnight tweets. A fair analysis shows that immigrants – undocumented or legal – are not a significant cause of crime in the U.S. and actually contribute to the economy.
Trump holds up an autographed photo of a murder victim, quips that the man is "Tom Selleck, except better looking." pic.twitter.com/8iOsdCT4xo
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 22, 2018
Yesterday, the Washington Post published an article that looked at the myth that “undocumented immigrants bring crime.”
“The reality is just the opposite,” reported the Washington Post. “A large body of social-science literature has demonstrated that immigrants, legal or otherwise, commit crime at lower rates than native-born Americans.”
In his speech today, Trump specifically cited the crime caused by immigrants in Texas, which is disproportionally impacted because it is right on the border of Mexico, where many illegal crossings are made by Mexicans, Central Americans, and others.
Trump said in recent years that over 250,000 illegal aliens have been apprehended in Texas and have committed over 600,000 criminal offenses.
The Libertarian Cato Institute in February released a study based on criminal convictions in Texas in 2015 using data from the Texas Department of Public Safety,
“It found that native-born residents were much more likely to be convicted of a crime than immigrants in the country legally or illegally,” the Washington Post reported on June 15.
“As a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015,” Alex Nowrasteh, author of the study wrote. “The criminal conviction rate for legal immigrants was about 85 percent below the native-born rate.”
“The data shows similar patterns for violent crimes such as homicide and property crimes such as larceny.”
“The study did find that immigrants in the United States illegally were more likely than native-born people to be convicted of ‘gambling, kidnapping, smuggling, and vagrancy.’ But as those crimes represented just 0.18 percent of all convictions in Texas that year, they had little effect on overall crime rates.”
So while Trump exploited the families of crime victims to serve his political agenda, once again he distorted the facts and the truth to justify his own political agenda, which is actually hurting the U.S. by depriving it of many new immigrants who take jobs Americans won’t take, pay taxes and raise their families without causing any harm.
Another study in the Journal Criminology, published this past March, looked at whether places with higher percentages of undocumented immigrants have higher crime rates.
“The answer,” reports the Washington Post, “is a resounding no.”
“States with larger shares of undocumented immigrants tended to have lower crime rates than states with smaller shares in the years 1990 through 2014.”
“Increases in the undocumented immigrant population within states are associated with significant decreases in the prevalence of violence,” authors Michael T. Light and Ty Miller found.
“They concluded that not only does illegal immigration not increase crime, but it may actually contribute to the drop in overall crime rates observed in the United States in recent decades,” adds the Post.
“Our study calls into question one of the primary justifications for the immigration enforcement build‐up,” wrote Light and Miller, adding that “undocumented immigration does not seem to have increased violent crime.”
There is plenty of other data to show that immigrants are not the crime wave that Trump would have you believe, and in fact contribute and grow the economy, along with offering greater diversity and a richer texture to America.
Trump uses a distorted combination of people, data, and anecdotes to twist the truth to serve his purpose, and while it plays well to his base and the fanatic right-wing media, it doesn’t make it true or right.