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What Immigrant Crime Wave?

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Bill Johnson in the Denver Post takes Greeley District Attorney Ken Buck to task for calling a town meeting to discuss immigrant crime in the community.

Exactly how many crimes do illegal immigrants in that small northern Colorado city commit? And I mean exactly. I have been trying most of this week to ask this of Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, but he has not called back. My presumption is that the DA would know, since he’s the one who staged the “Illegal Immigration: The Untold Stories” town meeting to detail crimes committed by illegal immigrants in his jurisdiction. I cannot imagine a law enforcement official anywhere else calling a town meeting to discuss crimes committed by one singled-out ethnic group. At least you would hope not.

Ken Buck may not have or want the answers and I can’t speak directly to Greeley, but I spent a lot of time researching this issue on the national level last month for an op-ed in the Examiner newspapers, What Immigrant Crime Wave? Here’s what I found from the research and concluded:

The vast majority of immigrants in this country, whether present with or without proper papers, are hardworking, law-abiding people with strong family ties. They are little different from the immigrants of 100 years ago. They are not stealing our jobs or draining scant public resources. They pay taxes and help make our country a better place for all of us. Most immigrants enter the country legally. According to the INS Statistical Yearbook, 75 percent of immigrants have legal, permanent visas. Of the 25 percent who are undocumented, 40 percent overstayed temporary visas, meaning their initial entry into the country was legal. Immigration does not breed crime. Our prisons are not overflowing because of crimes by the undocumented. They are overflowing because of our failed criminal justice policies and over reliance on incarceration versus treatment and rehabilitation with respect to our nonviolent homegrown offenders. There is nothing wrong with having a debate about immigration. But it is deplorable to falsely stereotype and malign millions of law-abiding people because of one’s desire for a particular outcome in that debate.

As for the sources for my research, here are the stats I found most persuasive and relied on in the op-ed:

Who said writing op-eds is easy? Not me. Blogging is such a treat by comparison.

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