Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, May 3, 2010 10:16 pm

There may be good reasons to support Arizona’s new immigration law …

Filed under: More fact-based arguing, please — Lex @ 10:16 pm
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… but the notion that it will help stem a rising tide of crime is not one of them:

By many measures, Arizona has become safer since illegal immigrants began pouring into the state in the 1990s.

Crime has dropped all across the country since then, but the decrease has been as fast or faster in Arizona. The rate of property crimes in the state, for example, has plummeted 43% since 1995, compared with 30% nationwide. …

[Jack] Harris, the Phoenix police chief, who opposes SB 1070, said proponents of cracking down on illegal immigrants vastly overstated that population’s criminality.

“Saying that if you get rid of the illegal immigrants, you’ll get rid of 80% of the crime, which I’ve heard, that’s not true,” he said, dismissing the rhetoric as political opportunism. “All you have to do in Arizona is come out with anything that’s anti-immigrant and you will be in good shape in the polls.”

What most in law enforcement here do agree on is that the victims of crime by illegal immigrants tend to be other immigrants. Community activists argue that the new law will make it worse for law-abiding immigrants because few immigrants, whether documented or not, will want to deal with police.

“No one’s going to call the cops,” said Alfredo Gutierrez, a former state Senate majority leader who opposed the bill. He said law-abiding immigrants of all types were fleeing the state out of fear of being subjected to racial profiling.

“They’re getting rid of the folks who would report the crooks,” Gutierrez said. “The crooks are staying. This is like heaven for them.”

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