The New Attack on Arizona – the Myth of Increased Crime

| May 28, 2010 | 2 Replies

The brouhaha over the Arizona immigration law continues as the forces of Those Who Do Not Read meet the general public who, interestingly enough, seem utterly unmoved by the squawks of the aforementioned Know-Nothings.

The latest argument against the law is that enforcing a set of long-standing and very public laws will actually make crime go up. The reasoning here, set forth by Kathering Mangu-Ward in the context of the Census and various police chiefs, most of whom are not actually in Arizona, is that illegal immigrants, who are privy to various laws being broken, will not come to the police to report those laws if they are then subject to deportation. Crime will skyrocket and various scenes of lawless Armageddon will ensue. In theory, that makes some sense. The problem is, like many theories held by the progressive left, it stands up to reality about as well as a light fog before a hurricane.

John Miller took a long look at one jurisdiction that has had a law similar to Arizona’s in place for three years, Prince William County, Virginia. He found that, contrary to what the anti-law folks say, the county has neither become a scene of Max Mad-level lawlessness nor a Fourth Reich police state. In fact, their law is working pretty well. Indeed, the most vociferous opponent of the county’s law had to admit that the worst had not happened even once.

One of the enforcement policy’s most outspoken critics is Nancy Lyall of Mexicans Without Borders, an immigrant-rights group. Since 2007, she has attacked Prince William’s tactics with a fervor that others have devoted to Arizona’s. When I asked whether she could identify a single case of a citizen or legal permanent resident, Hispanic or otherwise, who was mistakenly brought into custody because of racial profiling, she paused. Then she made a reluctant confession: “No.” In a survey, 73 percent of Hispanics said they were satisfied with the overall performance of the police department.

Miller is quick to point out that there is no conclusive information to prove that the law reduced crime, but it certainly has not increased crime and observation suggests that it has had the desired effect of reducing the number of illegal immigrants.

Prince William County should put the Myth of Increased Crime to rest, but I doubt it will. Open borders supporters are not operating in the realm of fact and reason and I can’t imagine they’ll start now.


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