March 27, 2007


All illegal immigration is local (Steve Chapman, March 27, 2007, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The city government of Hazleton, Pa., got in trouble when it passed a law intended to drive out illegal immigrants. [...]

The trial itself, which concluded Thursday and now awaits a verdict, has not shed flattering light on the competence of those who drafted the law. Mayor Lou Barletta said he was compelled to act when a resident was shot to death, it is believed by two illegal immigrants.

But he had trouble explaining why, if illegal immigrants generate crime, they have been implicated in only about 20 of the 8,500 felonies committed in Hazleton in the last six years. ACLU attorney Witold Walczak also noted that amid this supposed crime wave, the city reduced the size of the police force, despite a budget surplus.

If Hazleton's illegal immigrants are prone to crime, they're the exception. Despite the growth of illegal immigration in the last decade, crime rates have dropped sharply across the country. This may not be a coincidence. In every ethnic group, reports a recent study by Ruben Rumbaut and Walter Ewing for the American Immigration Law Foundation, young men born in the United States are far likelier to wind up in prison than those who come here later.

In Hazleton, as elsewhere, the main reason Latino foreigners come is to work and stay out of trouble. In fact, those qualities are the same ones that get them accused of stealing jobs. Even those immigrants who work off the books contribute to the economic health of local businesses by buying goods and services. Hazleton has seen an expansion of its tax base.

Indeed, the immigrants have lowered crime per capita.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2007 7:19 AM

Being a grungy street critter, such as we would be well rid of, is certainly not a matter of race or color, but of behavior and values. It stands to reason that immigrants have come to work, not to cause trouble. Immigrants aren't the ones staging nightly shoot-outs in Philadelphia these days.

Moreover, irregular immigration status would be expected to produce good behavior in that the illegal is facing deportation were he to be arrested on a minor matter.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 27, 2007 11:27 AM

Indeed, the immigrants have lowered crime per capita.

Uhm ... evidence?

Posted by: Anthony Perez-Miller at March 27, 2007 12:26 PM

We have a weekly newspaper around here, and not one issue goes by without 3, 4, 5 illegals being ticketed for no drivers license. Do I need to point out that they also don't have any insurance? Driving without a license is a crime. Sustaining an automobile injury caused by one will cost you, and nobody else, money. Most don't even stick around to pay the fine.

Posted by: AllenS at March 27, 2007 3:18 PM

My math isn't so hot and even I can figure out that if they've swollen the population but committed just 20 of the 8,500 crimes they've lowered the rate per capita.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2007 3:33 PM

Illegal immigrants have by definition committed at least one crime already. But I guess that one doesn't count in oj math.

Posted by: andy at March 27, 2007 10:48 PM

It would be immoral to obey an unjust law.

Posted by: oj at March 28, 2007 3:05 AM