The Immigration Question – Crime and Security

In addition to the issue of jobs and taxes, the other argument made against immigration, and likely the most contentious, is the notion that immigration reduces the country’s security. This argument takes two major points of contention; one – that porous borders, especially the US-Mexico border, allows for a greater threat of terrorism in the United States. The second point of contention is that immigrants increase the crime rates in their communities. Let us continue our examination of the immigrant question by comparing the crime rates for the states to see if they correlate with the immigration populations.

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Per the FBI’s crime data, the states with the higher concentration of immigrant populations tend to have higher crime rates in them. It is important to note that the data does not demonstrate whether immigrants have a higher propensity to commit crimes. The FBI data only compiles violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. There are many factors that can influence the crime rate.

The second, and most contentious issue is whether the United States faces a higher threat do to undocumented immigrants and/or a porous US-Mexico border. The fact that the US-Mexico border seems porous makes it seem as if the danger of Islamic terrorism is greater because of it. Although it is the prevailing notion, the facts do not support it.

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The generalized debate assumes that the only way terrorists have to enter the United States is the US-Mexico border. However, this notion ignores a fundamental fact. Although the US-Mexico border is one access point, there are other access points for international terrorists. The US-Canada border is also an access point as well was most international airports. The visa waiver program allows any citizen of certain countries to enter the US, via an international airport, without requiring a previous US visa. US visas include background checks of the travelers.

However, certain European countries have large Muslim populations that become naturalized citizens. For example, France is on the visa waiver program and it also has a large Muslim population. Any French passport holder, including naturalized Muslims, can fly into the US without a background check by US authorities as travelling visas are not required for them. British citizens, as well as those from Belgium, Italy and Spain, among other countries, are allowed also under the US visa waiver program.

As a matter of fact, none of the 9/11 hijackers entered the US through the US-Mexico border, as all of them entered the country through various airports with various travel visas. The 9/11 terrorists were citizens of four countries: Egypt, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the clear majority of radical Muslim terrorists’ acts in the US are US citizen terrorists. Of 94 federal cases, prosecuted on terrorism related charges, between 1997 and 2015, only two of entered the US from Mexico. Another one entered via the Canadian border. Even more important, four of those prosecuted in the 94 cases, were undocumented immigrants. Seventy percent of those prosecuted are US citizens by birth.

There is no direct correlation to the threat of radical Islamic terror in the United States and immigrants living in the country. Also, there is no evidence that radical Islamic terrorists have benefited from the US-Mexico border condition at this point.

The notion persists that immigrants are a direct cause of higher crime rates or that immigration makes the United States a more dangerous place, although the clear evidence shows that it is not the case.

Tomorrow, we will consider the metrics about culture and language.

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