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Two charts demolish the notion that immigrants here illegally commit more crime

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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen early this month. (Pool photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

The Trump administration's hard-line immigration policies are predicated, in part, upon the notion that immigrants in the country illegally represent a threat to public safety.

The White House, for instance, sent out regular email blasts to reporters with alarmist accounts of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. President Trump has frequently exaggerated the threat posed by MS-13, a criminal gang originating in Los Angeles whose members tend to be from Central American countries. On Tuesday he wrote on Twitter, without evidence, that Democrats "don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13."

But the social-science research on immigration and crime is clear: Undocumented immigrants are considerably less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens, with immigrants legally in the United States even less likely to do so. A number of studies published in the past several months clearly illustrate the consensus.

The first study, published by the libertarian Cato Institute in February, examines criminal conviction data for 2015 provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety. It found that native-born residents were much more likely to be convicted of a crime than immigrants in the country legally or illegally.

"As a percentage of their respective populations, there were 56 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015," author Alex Nowrasteh writes. "The criminal conviction rate for legal immigrants was about 85 percent below the native-born rate."

The data shows similar patterns for violent crimes such as homicide and property crimes such as larceny. The study did find that immigrants in the United States illegally were more likely than native-born to be convicted of "gambling, kidnapping, smuggling, and vagrancy." But as those crimes represented just 0.18 percent of all convictions in Texas that year, they had little effect on overall crime rates.

Another study, published in March in the journal Criminology, looked at population-level crime rates: Do places with higher percentages of undocumented immigrants have higher rates of crime? The answer, as the chart above shows, is a resounding no.

States with larger shares of undocumented immigrants tended to have lower crime rates than states with lower undocumented shares in the years 1990 through 2014. "Increases in the undocumented immigrant population within states are associated with significant decreases in the prevalence of violence," authors Michael T. Light and Ty Miller found.

That's just a simple correlation, of course, and it's well documented that many factors beyond immigration can affect the crime rate. So Light and Miller ran a number of statistical analyses to more clearly isolate the effects of illegal immigration from those other factors. Among other things, they find that the relationship between high levels of illegal immigration and low levels of crime persists even after controlling for various economic and demographic factors such as age, urbanization, labor market conditions and incarceration rates.

All told, Light and Miller sliced the data 57 ways to see whether there was anything they missed, but not one of their analyses showed any positive relationship between illegal immigration and crime. They concluded that not only does illegal immigration not increase crime, but it may actually contribute to the drop in overall crime rates observed in the Unied States in recent decades.

"Our study calls into question one of the primary justifications for the immigration enforcement build‐up," Light and Miller concluded. "… Any set of immigration policies moving forward should be crafted with the empirical understanding that undocumented immigration does not seem to have increased violent crime."

These two studies are far from the only ones showing that immigration, legal or otherwise, does not lead to rising crime. But the evidence they present is some of the strongest offered to date. The Trump administration, however, does not seem to be listening.

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jsled
1 hour ago
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South Burlington, Vermont
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Here’s to the Future Lifelong Unemployment of Kirstjen Nielsen

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As a general rule, whenever you are required to hold an ad hoc press conference defending your administration’s elective policy of ripping toddlers away from their parents and then putting both child and parent in separate prisons, you can expect that things are not going to be received well and should probably plan on the event going rather poorly. But, if you are a Trump administration member, you can just say fuck it and go all in and just lie about everything.

I suppose I could go into every single lie told by Nielsen by her presser, but instead I’ll just let this headline at Splinter do the heavy lifting:

She basically lied about everything, but she smiled through a 1/4 inch of foundation and caked on mascara while doing it, so let’s just consider this her FOX news audition tape, because she should be unemployable for the rest of her life, the fucking ghoul, but she’ll no doubt have a job at Trump state tv.

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jsled
19 hours ago
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South Burlington, Vermont
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American Viewer Disgusted To See World Cup Teams Not Singing U.S. National Anthem Before Games

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WACO, TX—After accidentally catching the beginning of a World Cup game on television Friday morning, local man Bud Hampton was reportedly disgusted to see that the non-American international teams participating in the tournament didn’t sing the United States national anthem before the game. The man rewound the footage several times, scouring the screen to see […]

The post American Viewer Disgusted To See World Cup Teams Not Singing U.S. National Anthem Before Games appeared first on The Babylon Bee.

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jsled
1 day ago
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South Burlington, Vermont
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Chart of the Day: Blue-Collar Wages Are Down Under Trump

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The monthly Real Earnings Report from the BLS came out today, which gave everyone an excuse to note that hourly wages for production and nonsupervisory workers are down compared to a year ago. They’re also down compared to January 2017. Sad.

POSTSCRIPT: It’s legit to note that wages for ordinary folks have turned down since Republicans passed their tax cut, which was sold not as a windfall for corporations and the rich, but as snake-oil that would supercharge the ordinary family’s paycheck. That was a flat-out lie. At the same time, we should keep our eyes on the ball: the real disgrace here is that the wages of blue-collar workers have been stagnant for decades. Over the past 40 years, under both Democrats and Republicans, blue-collar earnings have gone up just a bit more than half a percent per year while the incomes of the rich have skyrocketed. That needs to stop.

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jsled
3 days ago
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South Burlington, Vermont
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Maine voter survey shows RCV was easy to use

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The League of Women Voters of Maine announced results of an on-line survey asking how voters liked using ranked choice voting in the June 12 primary.

The informal survey does not purport to represent the views of the population as a whole but provides a useful snapshot of voter attitude coming out of the primary. The results and robust response rate -- over 650 participants -- reveal broad satisfaction with the use of RCV.  Findings include:

  • Only 8 percent of respondents had ever used RCV in a previous election.
  • More than 94 percent of respondents took the opportunity to rank their candidates instead of voting for just one.
  • More than 90 percent of respondents said that their experience using RCV in the primary was either “excellent” or “good.”
  • Only 4 percent of respondents said that their voting experience diminished their view of RCV.

“This survey is consistent with what we have been saying all along -- voters are empowered by ranked choice voting, and it is an option they wish to preserve,” said Jill Ward, President of the LWVME.  “The overwhelming majority of the comments we received through the survey were positive,” said Ward. “The League will be analyzing those comments in the coming days, but it’s clear that ranked choice voting is here to stay.”

The League credits the Secretary of State for implementing ranked choice voting under time pressure and with the eyes of the nation upon Maine.  “We salute the clerks, wardens, volunteers, and others who made the election go smoothly and are assured that the counting of RCV results in the coming days will be conducted with the same professionalism,” said Ward.

For the last six months the League of Women Voters of Maine Education Fund has been conducting a public education project, “Maine Uses Ranked Choice Voting,” for the purpose of educating voters and others involved in the June election. Learn more about RCV at Maine Uses RCV’s website: www.mainerankedchoice.vote. Please also visit www.LWVME.org and www.mainecleanelections.org for information about the organizations behind this project.

More information on the survey is below.

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jsled
4 days ago
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South Burlington, Vermont
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Crime Has Been Cut in Half Since 1991

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I figure you can never show people this chart too often. Since its peak in 1991, property crime has dropped to levels last seen in the mid-60s and violent crime is down to its level in 1970. In some large cities, it’s dropped even more. There’s more we can and should do, but most of us live in pretty safe places these days—and they’re likely to stay that way. We should act accordingly

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jsled
4 days ago
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MAGA, or something.
South Burlington, Vermont
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