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Via FiredUp! we learn that Rep. Roy Blunt is still trying to ride the Arizona immigration pony because “there’s nothing wrong with states trying to do what’s necessary to protect people in their state… .” While there may be nothing wrong with trying to protect the citizens of Arizona, there’s lots wrong with Blunt’s implication that Arizonans need to be protected from criminal immigrants.  As Linda Chavez writes:

Crime in Arizona has consistently gone down over the last 15 years, even while illegal immigration was increasing. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports show that the violent crime rate statewide in Arizona has been cut by almost 40 percent since 1995, and property crimes have followed the same pattern.

So what we have is a case of perception vs. reality. In this situation anecdotes are substituted for statistics – horrific incidents such as the recent drug cartel related murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz stand in for real data.

Contributing to the situation are politicians who seek political traction by exploiting the fears of the poorly informed – think good ol’ Roy – and the media that loves them – think Fox News, which recently ran a story suggesting that the data shows immigrant-related crime exploding in border states like Arizona. The article concedes, however, way at the end, burried in the last paragraphs, that the correlation is not well-substantiated:

Jessica Vaughan, a co-author of the Center for Immigration Studies report and policy director at the think tank, said the bottom line is that connections between illegal immigrants and crime are hard to draw.

“We didn’t find any evidence to support the idea that either immigrants are more prone to crime or less prone to crime than … legally resident Americans,” she said. “It’s very tricky.”

And what is the most frequent crime committed by immmigrants according to a study Fox relied on for its data documenting a crime-wave?:

But for those immigrants who are being caught and convicted, their immigration status itself is often the offense.

Ah, Fox News …