National data contradicts Trump’s claims of a migrant crime wave in the US

Trump has consistently linked undocumented immigrants to a surge in criminal activity across the United States.

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Donald Trump’s narrative on migrant crime is poised to be a focal point during his upcoming speech at the Texas border. Trump has consistently linked undocumented immigrants to a surge in criminal activity across the United States. His claims, however, stand in contrast to national data and expert analysis, sparking a contentious debate on the true impact of migration on crime.

Trump recently described a grim scenario in New York, attributing a spike in crime to migrants. “They beat up police officers. You’ve seen that they go in, they stab people, hurt people, shoot people,” Trump stated at a Michigan rally. His remarks tap into public concern over incidents like the murder of college student Laken Riley in Georgia, allegedly by an undocumented migrant.

A Pew poll indicates a divided America, with 57% of respondents associating high migrant numbers with increased crime. This belief is particularly strong among Republicans, 85% of whom see a direct correlation. Democrats are less convinced, with only 31% sharing this view.

Despite Trump’s alarming depictions, a closer examination reveals a different reality. Major city police departments and criminology experts find no evidence of a migrant crime wave. “There’s no evidence for there being any relationship between somebody’s immigrant status and their involvement in crime,” explains Graham Ousey, a criminology professor.

An NBC News review of crime data from cities receiving migrants under Texas’ “Operation Lone Star” showed an overall drop in crime rates, contradicting the narrative of migrant-induced violence. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, New York, and Los Angeles all reported decreases, challenging the notion that migrants bring crime.

The Trump campaign continues to assert that Democratic cities hide migrant crime statistics to protect Biden’s immigration policies. This claim is contradicted by studies from states like Texas, where police do record immigration status. Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that in Texas, migrants commit fewer crimes per capita compared to the general population.

Historical use of anti-immigrant sentiment to stoke fears of criminality is not new to Trump’s rhetoric. His 2015 campaign heavily featured the narrative that migrants bring crime. Yet, national crime data, particularly regarding undocumented immigrants, remains incomplete, mainly because most local police departments do not record immigration status during arrests.

The narrative of increased crime in sanctuary cities is another common myth debunked by a Department of Justice report, which found no link between a city’s immigrant population and its crime rates.

Trump’s focus on migrant crime taps into a potent issue for Republican voters, despite evidence to the contrary. As America heads into another election cycle, the discourse around immigration and crime remains a divisive yet pivotal point, underscored by complex social and political dynamics.

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Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.

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