Donald Trump has made illegal immigration the centerpiece of his political career, but new data published on Monday shows the president’s signature issue is built on a lie.
According to a new analysis published in The New York Times, there is “no evidence” to support the claim made by Trump and his supporters that undocumented immigrants cause spikes in violent crime.
In fact, according to the report, many of the places with a higher migrant population actually recorded larger drops in crime than other areas.
More from The New York Times:
For the first time, there is an opportunity for a broader analysis of how unauthorized immigration might have affected crime rates since 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. 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, although the difference was small and uncertain.
The results of the analysis resemble those of other studies on the relationship between undocumented immigration and crime. Last year, a report by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, found that unauthorized immigrants in Texas committed fewer crimes than their native-born counterparts. A state-level analysis in Criminology, an academic journal, found that undocumented immigration did not increase violent crime and was in fact associated with slight decreases in it. Another Cato study found that unauthorized immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated.
At the more local level, an analysis by Governing magazine reported that metropolitan areas with more undocumented residents had similar rates of violent crime, and significantly lower rates of property crime, than areas with smaller numbers of such residents in 2014. After controlling for multiple socioeconomic factors, the author of the analysis, Mike Maciag, found that for every 1 percentage point increase in an area’s population that was undocumented there were 94 fewer property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Trump’s immigration lie keeps his supporters scared and angry
The analysis published in The New York Times on Monday only confirms what other studies have shown for quite some time: Undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans.
Of course, by attacking immigrants during his campaign and his presidency, Trump’s goal has never been to tell the truth. It’s always been to keep his base scared and angry by tapping into their pre-existing antipathy toward immigrants.
It’s why he launched his campaign by attacking Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. It’s why, like a broken record, he promises to build a wall on the southern border. It’s why he declared a fake national emergency.
Trump knows his best bet politically is to play into peoples’ fears and prejudices – even if they’re completely baseless.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.