What Part of Illegal Immigration Are You Against?
Is it the “Illegal” part, or the “Immigrant”
[See interview transcripts below]
Conservative blogs are fond of spreading statistics like, “Most Federal Crimes Involve Immigration, Drugs and are Executed by Hispanics” [Judicial Watch] to support policies that would restrict immigration to the U.S. from Mexico.
These articles are highly misleading. In most cases, the crime in question is the illegal immigration itself, which says little about immigrants rates of violent crime. In fact, if there is a link between immigration and crime, it seems to be inverse — i.e., immigrants are on average less likely to commit crimes.
Articles like the one linked above unintentionally illustrate a point I often make about immigration, using the Socratic method. I ask opponents of illegal immigration which part they oppose — the “illegal” part, or the “immigrant.”
If it’s the illegal part, there is a simple solution. It’s naturalizing more immigrants, and it’s the opposite of what President Trump is asking of Congress to do.
After watching their bizarre contortions for a minute or so, I usually declare victory.
… But what about terrorists?
1 in 3.8 million.
That is the likelihood of dying in a terrorist attack committed by an illegal immigrant to the United States based on numbers compiled by Alex Nowrasteh from 1975 through 2017.
Alex has been on my show many times to debunk the many myths around immigration, including the argument that “this time it’s different” — that this wave of immigrants will not assimilate, or that these immigrants are only here for welfare benefits or are suppressing the wages of native workers.
Alex joined me again this Sunday to review these myths, but more importantly, to go on the offensive against the biggest myth of all: that being pro-America requires a person to be anti-immigrant.
The GOP wants to be known as the party of freedom and opportunity, but they continue to confuse their facts, as both parties deny immigrants a legal status that would promote voluntary exchange and the rule of law.
As it stands, we set up cruel incentives for immigrants to live and work here illegally — in the shadow of the law — making them criminals in name only. People scapegoat them as lawless parasites, when something closer to the opposite is true.
Trump’s latest proposal, apparently influenced by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, would reduce the number of green cards given to foreign relatives of U.S. citizens and increase high-skilled immigration. This would reduce already-low levels of legal immigration to the U.S. and erode one of the great American ideals on which our country was founded.
… But what about disease?
There have been justified concerns from both sides about the uptick in deaths at detention centers, where thousands of immigrants have been quarantined for mumps and influenza. Children dying in custody at ICE centers is a humanitarian crisis, but it shouldn’t distract from the greater travesty that is preventing immigrants from pursuing a better life in the U.S.
That’s what America was supposed to be all about. We naturalized just as many immigrants as today in absolute numbers in 1910 as we do today:
“About one million legal immigrants come annually, the same number as in 1910, when the United States had about 71 percent fewer people. Adjusting for the size of the U.S. population, annual immigrant flows today are only about one-fourth the per capita annual flow in 1910.”
— Myths and Facts of Immigration Policy, January/February 2019 Cato Institute Policy Report
The great scandal should not be that so many people are coming across the border, but that the Federal Government has abdicated its responsibility to naturalize them.
The result is a deeply immoral system, as Victor Davis Hanson notes, which wreaks havoc on the rule of law by creating an unenforceable set of laws and turning masses of innocent people into criminals. The fact that we allow people who show up at the border to come through illegally and remain “illegals” is a travesty, but the answer is not to send them back to where they came from.
We need to break out of the stale debate over immigration and return to the great American tradition of open immigration. Wall or no wall, we should welcome more immigrants.
Tune into the show of ideas, not attitude:
Bob Zadek: Thanks so much for listening this Sunday morning. I hate illegal immigration. I despise it. Most Americans, according to the polls, oppose illegal immigration.
But when one talks about that concept of illegal immigration and opposes illegal immigration, the question must be asked, which part of the two words do you oppose? The illegal part or the immigration part? If the law were changed, so that hypothetically all or almost all of immigration was legalized, would those who oppose illegal immigration be placated? Are they now content with the policy?
I fear not. Although the answer for me would be “yes.” This issue is frequently in the news, thanks in part to President Trump’s focus on immigration. The problem is that policy is made and opinions are formed not based upon fact, but based upon emotion, and based upon fake news in the extreme. Well, when given this situation, the best I can do to contribute to the long-term health of America is to bring back to my show Alex Nowrasteh.
Alex is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. We like liberty and we show like prosperity. Alex has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, the Boston Globe, and Alex has pushed around Tucker Carlson on Tucker Carlson’s own show. If you can find the YouTube videos, they are worth watching.
Alex has, in his head and at his disposal, so much factual information concerning immigration. Before you allow your opinions to be spoken or formed any further, please listen to what Alex has to say. Alex brings to this show fact-driven analysis on the hot button issue of immigration.
Alex, welcome to the show this morning.
Alex Nowrasteh: Bob, thank you for having me and thanks for that introduction. If you could see me, you’d see that I’m blessing.
Bob Zadek: Oh shucks. Alex. Well, you are allowed to blush when you’re talking to friends. Now, Alex, on the subject of immigration, people seem to oppose immigration for several significant reasons. One of the primary reasons for strong opposition to immigration is that they fear that the immigrants who come here will harm us economically — that it is a net economic minus to our country. Why should we give away our treasure and the pleasures of living here to strangers?
I would like to discuss that issue on two levels. First of all, I’d like to discuss the economic facts of the effects of immigration on economic life in America, because there are in fact winners and losers.
So, tell us: what is the economic effect of immigration in America? And then, Alex, I’d like to discuss whether — even if the facts were a net negative — whether that in and of itself is a moral reason to oppose immigration.
Alex Nowrasteh: Immigrants make up about 13.5% of the US population and are about 60% of the workforce. They are more likely to work than native born Americans are, and they boost our GDP by somewhere around 12–15% based on the estimates. Our GDP is about 12 to 15% greater because of the immigrants who are here. They get most of the benefits of that because they are the ones who are adding to our production. They are the ones working here.
Nobody disagrees with anything that I have said right now. The only point of disagreement is the effect on wages of native born Americans by having these immigrants who are here working. One economists from Harvard University named George Borjas, the most skeptical economist on the benefits of immigration, found that roughly 30 million immigrants from 1990 to 2010 who came to the US lowered wages of native high school dropouts by about 1.7%, but raised the wages of every other American by about 1% overall.
On the other side of this are the economists, Giovanni Peri and Gianmarco Ottaviano, and they find that over that entire time period, immigrants raised the wages of native born Americans by about 0.6%. So, we are basically talking about very small differences on wages, but overall, for the vast majority of Americans, wage increases. The most negative finding in the entire academic peer-reviewed literature is that immigration over the last 20 years has lowered the wages of high school dropout natives by about 1.7%. That is the worst finding that you’ll ever find in the entire literature. However, it is outweighed even in that research by the weighted benefits to other native born Americans who have at least a high school degree or above.
Bob Zadek: Of course, the effect is only, as Alex said, on a small cohort of the working population, which is white males with a sub-high school education.
Alex Nowrasteh: Not just white males. It is all native born Americans who are high school dropouts. Only 9% of the population.
Bob Zadek: So, a small cohort of the working population is negatively affected and that’s in a minuscule degree. I would point out that there are so many factors at work that reduce the wages of that cohort of the working population. Automation does that. New products do that. Movement of capital does that. There are so many factors that reduce wages, and those factors, although they reduced wages of one group, benefit society profoundly as a whole.
So, why aren’t we opposed to all the other labor-saving devices and phenomenon that happen in society? Why aren’t we railing against efficiency? Efficiency destroys jobs as well, but efficiency is good for all of us, although there always are people who suffer. Should we have opposed the invention of automatic elevators because of the effect on elevator operators? Of course not. To focus on the effect on one small group, even though the overall effect is positive, makes no rational sense.
Immigrants and Access to Welfare: The Myth and Exceptions
Bob Zadek: Alex, please dismiss this pure fallacy that immigrants come here to take advantage of our generous welfare system.
Alex Nowrasteh: Legal immigrants and illegal immigrants do not have access to welfare benefits under U.S. Law with very rare exceptions. And the exceptions are for people who are very ill and show up at emergency rooms, emergency Medicaid, and sometimes school lunch programs. But those programs are all funded by the state level. They are not funded by federal benefits in this regard. They all make up a very small percentage of federal benefits.
When we take a look at it in more detail using data from surveys that measure — among other things — welfare groups of different groups in the United States, we find that immigrants in the U.S., regardless of their legal status, are much less likely to use these benefits than native born Americans are. And furthermore, when they do use these benefits, they use them at a lower rate. A foreign born person in the United States, whether they are naturalized or not on average, all lumped together, cost about 42% less than a similar native born American when they come here and get welfare.
We write a lot about welfare here at Cato. I’m opposed to the existence of any welfare state. We wrote a paper though, a sort of middle-ground solution called “Build a Wall around the Welfare State, Not around the Country,” that would make those rules even stricter, so that nobody who’s not a citizen will ever be able to take advantage of the welfare state in any kind of way. It’s remarkable to me that none my friends on the right in Washington D.C. ever talk about this option. They want to use the welfare state as an argument to cut immigration, and I want to use immigration as an argument to cut welfare.
Bob Zadek: That’s totally consistent with Milton Friedman’s view. Milton Friedman observed famously that immigration and a welfare state cannot coexist. Professor Friedman’s approach was to get rid of welfare, not immigration. Of course, getting rid of welfare is impossible politically. It may not even be desirable politically or economically or socially. So let us put aside the impossible. Cato and Alex’s solution is nothing short of brilliant. It keeps welfare in place for those who favor it, because attacking welfare is pretty much a political impossibility, but it removes welfare as an argument against immigration. Everybody wins in that approach.
Alex Nowrasteh: The 1996 Welfare Reform Act that was passed during the Clinton administration, the most successful portion of that bill and the portion that lasted the longest are those that regard noncitizen access to these benefits. It is politically popular to restrict benefits so non-citizens can’t get them. Members of both parties like it.
During the Obama administration, Eric Holder at the Department of Justice discovered that the state of Pennsylvania was giving means-tested welfare benefits to some small number of illegal immigrants by using federal dollars and they sued the state of Pennsylvania to get that money back.
Even Eric Holder wants to make sure that illegal immigrants don’t have access to or abuse welfare benefits in the United States. That is pretty much a guarantee that both sides of the political spectrum are on the same page. And last year, representative Grossman, a Republican from Wisconsin, agreed on the issue of welfare and denying non-citizens all non-citizen welfare benefits. He introduced the bill based on our ideas. It was a wonderful bill that basically saw the vast majority of these problems going forward.
Trump’s Merit Based Proposal
Bob Zadek: In the news of late has been an announcement by President Trump regarding a merit-based immigration system. Merit is kind of a strange word, but what is that all about and how would that improve the current system? Are other countries using anything resembling a merit-based system? How have those countries fared?
Alex Nowrasteh: Around 80% of current immigrants come in legally because of their family ties to other Americans or other green card holders (family-based immigration). The other 7% or so are coming in through the skills-based system. The current administration wants to reduce the family-based immigration and increase the economic immigration. It wants to make sure that more people are coming in who are highly skilled. That is in and of itself not a terrible goal. If we’re going to have immigration restriction and limit the numbers, then we should probably have more people who are skilled and educated, willing to work, et cetera.
Where they go wrong is that they want to cut the total number of immigrants coming into the United States. They could change the percentages easily by just allowing more skill-based immigrants, not by cutting family members. But unfortunately, Trump and Kushner and these other folks want to cut the number of family members who can come in. For other countries like Canada and Australia, which have these skills-based, merit-based immigration systems, it is true that a larger percentage of their immigrants come in on these visas. About a quarter of immigrants to Canada come in on a skill-based system exclusively. But the difference is that Canada, as a percentage of its population, does about double the number of immigrants as the U.S.
So we could get Canada’s merit based system but the easiest way to do that would be to double the number of immigrants coming to the U.S. each year but make sure those are skill-based.
They are all people who are coming here because they have shown high education, or they want to invest and build businesses in the U.S. That’s how I suggest that the President goes forward with this. Get rid of this idea that you want to cut legal immigration and the idea that you want to cut family-based immigration and increase the economic side and voila, you will get the merit-based immigration system Canada has.
Bob Zadek: Why in the world should we permit Canada and Australia and perhaps other countries to have access to skilled workers who contribute to the economy while we say you are not welcome here? How could they possibly not be welcome if they have skills we need?
They have skills we need and we say, “No, the numbers are too high. Go to Canada, go to Australia.” It makes no sense.
Now, Alex, one observation on a merit-based system focuses on better educated immigrants such as those with advanced degrees or at least degrees in areas where we are short. My only issue is that since we are short many unskilled workers as well, such as the farms, the hotels, the hospitality industry, etc. are all begging for workers and can’t fill those places. So, I would say a merit based system ought to also give credit to unskilled workers simply because we need them. Is that built into the system?
Alex Nowrasteh: No, it’s not built into the merit-based idea at all.
I agree with you. Lower skilled workers are tremendously valuable and add a lot to the U.S. economy as well, and in any sort of dream immigration proposal we would want to include these folks to come in in larger numbers. Now when we’re talking about merit-based immigration we are talking about green cards. Green cards are a way to permanent residency. You can live here forever on a green card and become a citizen eventually if you want to. The U.S. Government does have temporary work visas that aren’t a green card and do not lead to citizenship for lower skilled workers. The problem is that these visas just don’t work very well. They’re too expensive. They are too regulated. They’re only available for temporary workers and not year-round workers in the U.S. And that’s why we see all this illegal immigration in the United States.
There is really no legal way for lower-skilled workers to come here lawfully to work temporarily and then go back home. So, any kind of immigration reform that solves a lot of these problems, especially if it includes merit-based immigration, has to include changes to our low-skilled guest worker visa programs so some of these folks can come in legally and work in agriculture and tourism, as well as other industries like construction, retail, etc. so that they can come in legally and work and go back home if they want to at the end of it.
That’s really the key that’s missing. The President is focusing on merit-based, but we are ignoring the elephant in the room, which is that most of the people who are coming here illegally or overstaying their visas and becoming illegal immigrants are not very highly educated people, but they fill an important role in our economy. If we want to stop illegal immigration, we need to find a way to allow these people can come here legally, work legally, and then go back home if they want to.
Bob Zadek:The one thing that strikes me as so irrational is this concept that we benefit when a guest worker comes in here and works and we benefit when that same worker leaves. How can that possibly be? We have somebody who clearly has obeyed the laws and has contributed to the economy. It makes no sense to me. It is utterly bizarre. They have learned how we operate here in America. They obviously like it, they contribute to the economy. That is the kind of person we want.
Alex Nowrasteh is the co-author of a book called “Open Immigration, Yea and Nay,” published by Encounter Broadsides in 2014. Alex holds a masters in economic history from the prestigious London School of Economics.
Modern Immigration Law: Congressional Laziness?
Bob Zadek: For those of us who learn about what’s going on at the border from the evening news, it makes no sense. There are these asylum seekers and they cross the border and once they are here, they get to stay here. They are moved around the country. It’s been observed that our immigration statutes, and of course there are many, are the second most complicated body of law in the country behind the Internal Revenue Code. It is a patchwork. It is wholly irrational.
Give us, if you will, the big picture of the effect of all of the economic statutes? What are the bullet point rules and what is going on at the border these days? We can’t figure it out.
Alex Nowrasteh: It’s a very complicated situation. I’ll give you the rules that focus on what’s going on at the border right now. So under U.S. law as a foreigner, you can ask for asylum once at a port of entry when you enter the U.S. or once you’re already inside of the country. Asylum is a process where you go to the government and you claim you have a well-founded fear of persecution if sent back to my home country based on my race, my religion, my membership in a social organization, et cetera. So if you send me back to my home country, I will likely be killed.
So this creates a perverse incentive along the border.
The Trump administration has limited the number of people who ask for asylum at a port of entry. But under U.S. law, they can’t limit the number of people who ask for asylum after they are already in the United States. That has created perverse incentives where people from Central America who want to ask for asylum have no incentive to wait at a port of entry and instead they have every incentive to enter illegally, and then turn themselves into border patrol agents and ask for asylum this way, which is exactly what they’re doing. On top of that, the Trump administration has started to put up detention facilities for illegal immigrants that are only for single people who are coming across. So if you don’t have a child with you, then they will put you in one of these detention facilities.
On the other hand, if you do have a child with you, then they will let you go and will give you a court date, which gives an incentive for people from central to bring their kids with them because then they won’t be detained in any facility. Now, after you enter as an immigrant asking for asylum, in 180 days, you get a work permit to work in the United States prior to your court date. The court backlogs, however, for these asylum claims, is about 900,000 cases. So, we expect that the court date will be three to four years before they are even allowed to see a judge and sort out whether they have a legitimate asylum claim or not. So, this is just a huge catastrophe of bad incentives, bad rules, and no other way for these people to come here lawfully.
Bob Zadek: I remind my American friends out there that this is a statute or series of statutes that your elected representatives have enacted. This is what they are doing to earn your faith, trust and reelection. And therefore, this invites a brief commentary on the tension between the executive order — a muscular executive, i.e., a President — and Congress. In this instance as in many others we have a monumental problem. Everybody concedes it is a monumental problem, but Congress is so dysfunctional that they are unable to see the lunacy of the existing system that they created. And therefore, the President has found it necessary to do the best he can to deal with the problem, because his duty is to enforce the laws and see that they are faithfully executed.
So the President, the executive branch, has the absurd task of being responsible for seeing to it that the laws are faithfully executed, but since the laws are impossible to be faithfully executed, the President gets the heat for all of these problems at the border. This is a monumental failure of Congress. If Congress would enact legislation that in any way fixed the problem, there is a strong indication that the president will sign it. So there is no reason other than cowardice or stupidity or worse for Congress not to do the very job they were sent to Washington to do.
Alex, am I being too harsh?
Alex Nowrasteh: I don’t think you’re being too harsh. I think in a way or being too lenient. This is a problem that Congress created, not just in immigration law, but in so many other areas of law. Since the 1920s they have abdicated their constitutional responsibility to craft the laws that they themselves figure out how to enforce. They have gotten lazy and just put in the law and say the President can figure this out. So the immigration code is full of these. The President’s enacted the travel ban shortly after taking office. The actions are of serving border patrol to different portions of the sector of the border. Reallocating resources according to whatever he wants.
Most of these actions are explicitly given the President in the immigration law. Congress is basically deferring to the President. I would argue it is an unconstitutional abdication of Congress’s power that violates what we rightly hold to be an important constitutional feature, namely, the doctrine of separation of powers.
I’ve come to the realization over the last decade or so working on policy, and seeing the actions of President Obama and the actions of President Trump, that the most dangerous branch of government is the executive branch. Congress has given all the power to the Executive.
The Battle of Heart and Mind: An Ethical Justification for Open Borders?
Bob Zadek: Those of us who have studied American history recall Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter when he talks about the battle between his heart and his mind. He was doing so in connection with a love affair of sorts he was having when he was in Paris from 1784 to 1789. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn’t help himself. He wrote passionately about the battle between his heart and his mind. When I analyze immigration intellectually I see that it is very good for our country. That satisfies the rational part of me. But here, my heart is also in sync. I don’t have any battle between my heart and my mind.
Both organs are in sync. There is a moral and philosophical component to immigration. Libertarians recognize that the right to freely travel to improve the life of yourself and your family is a natural right that all humans have solely by dint of their humanness. Let us assume there was no tangible benefit to you and I by allowing somewhat open borders. An argument can be made even if it’s not necessarily good for America, that on a basis other than what’s good for us, we should still have open borders to allow others to enjoy the benefits of our country.
Alex Nowrasteh: I think there is a strong ethical and moral argument for that. Frederick Douglass, the famous former slave and prominent abolitionist, made this argument himself several times when opposing efforts by labor unions and nationalists in the 19th century to block Chinese immigration. He gave speeches arguing that, even though Chinese immigration might compete with black workers in the U.S. and lower their wages, that that was immaterial. The natural rights of Chinese immigrants. which are endowed to them because of their mere humanity, trumps any material or economic self interest of any group in the United States. What matters is ethical and moral obligations.
I’m not as hardcore as Frederick Douglass was on this issue. I think that there is a point when the harm is so bad that it might be acceptable to close the borders, but fortunately there is really no evidence of that. There would have to be a very severe downside. I think the burden of proof is on the people who want to close the borders and that we should have a presumption in favor of a looser legal integration. The default for libertarians and for people who believe in individual human rights should be to allow people to move unless there is a very good argument to the contrary and excellent evidence.
Bob Zadek: And of course, as you have pointed out with your suggestion of building a wall around welfare rather than a wall around the country, even if open borders has an overall negative effect, there are many ways to remove that negative effect without closing the border by separating welfare from immigration. So even if an argument can be made that there are some negative consequences from open borders, it is, like opening our hearts, a positive good.
If there is a negative that comes from that, let’s focus on fixing how we are being harmed until we get to a point to where we have exhausted our skill in fixing the problem of open borders. We’re nowhere near there. And even if there are negatives, those negatives can be dealt with by the skill of legislation and by compassion. They are not dealt with by building a wall and denying another human being the right to improve their life for themselves and their family. Maybe this is the only way they could improve their life.
Alex Nowrasteh: That’s right. I would say that these sorts of solutions to decrease the downside of open immigration like building the wall around the welfare state, we like to call those “keyhole solutions.” It’s like keyhole surgery. It’s less-invasive. It’s a lower cost way of achieving a really good outcome.
A lot of my conservative friends will accept these keyhole solutions for other issues like gun control. I’m a very pro-gun individual. I have a conceal carry even in Washington D.C. The left will look at some crime or tragedy that occurs because of a criminal with a firearm and they’ll say, we need to ban all guns or we need to restrict the ability of people like myself because of a small number of people who cause harm with them. I think a lot of people would understand that that is a really broad brush — that’s a really unjust way to punish the vast majority of gun owners for what a small number of people actually do.
So there are a couple of keyhole solutions. They say, if you are a violent felon, maybe you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun, or maybe if you are mentally ill, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. Those are some severe and serious restrictions but they are a lot better than banning all firearms, which is what liberals want to do. So they accept it as a middle ground solution. So what I want my conservative friends to do is to look at those solutions when looking at immigration just like they do when they examine the gun issue.
Bob Zadek: That of course is bedrock constitutional law. It is irrefutable constitutional law that once the courts recognize that there are certain rights that we have as Americans, such as freedom of assembly, free exercise of religion, free speech and the like, it’s not a question of whether the government can take away or limit those rights. The question is that in order for the government to do so and pass constitutional muster, they must satisfy the court’s that the deprivation or limitation of rights is accomplishing a valid governmental purpose, and there is no other less intrusive way to satisfy the problem.
Applying bedrock constitutional law to what Alex just said, even if there is a problem caused by open borders we must find the apply a solution that that deprives us of our rights of travel in the least intrusive way to solve the problem, not by the blunderbuss way of closing the borders. That never works.
Immigration, Crime and Terrorism: Fake News?
Bob Zadek: Now, Alex, you mentioned crime a second ago. There are two fears. One is of letting terrorists in and the second is letting criminals in. The argument is that immigrants commit a disproportionate amount of crime and therefore are making the country less safe. Can you please dispel that nonsense?
Alex Nowrasteh: Yes. The foreign born population in the United States is less than half as likely to be incarcerated as native born Americans are overall. Now, the comment I get from this is, “Yeah, legal immigrants are less likely to, but illegal immigrants are more likely to be criminals.” And that’s just simply not the case either. In Anne Coulter’s book, Adios America, she makes the claim that no State in the United States tracks convictions or incarceration by legal immigration status. That is, they don’t check to see if people are illegal immigrants or illegal. They just classify them all as immigrants.
That is true in 49 states except for what I think is one of the greatest states, which is the state of Texas. Texas actually counts the conviction rates and the incarceration rates by immigration status. So when you take a look at those populations, what you find is that illegal immigrants are about half as likely to commit a crime as native born Americans are and legal immigrants are about 70% less likely to be convicted of a crime than native born Americans are.
These carry over into the incarceration rates in those states. So what were you seeing? The overwhelming amount of evidence on both illegal and legal immigrants going back over a century is that they are less likely to be incarcerated, less likely to be convicted, less likely to even be arrested and less likely to be sent to jail than native born Americans. So it’s basically just a popular myth, and part of the reason this myth exists is the media treatment. If a native born American kills another native born American, that is just a normal day, but when all of a sudden an immigrant or an illegal immigrant does it, then it becomes a national media story like we’ve seen in the tragic murders about Mollie Tibbets in Iowa, and some other murders around the country like in San Francisco of Kate Steinle in 2015 by an illegal immigrant.
For American consumers of media, they only really care when an illegal immigrant kills a native born American, but the vast majority of people who murder somebody else in this country murder somebody who they know personally. They murder their neighbor, friend, spouse, or a member of their family. So what happens is the vast majority of victims of illegal immigrant crime are other illegal immigrants in this country.
There was this tragic individual case in Seattle earlier this year where this illegal immigrant killed his girlfriend in a brutal way and had a standoff with the police before he was arrested. You’d think that this would make national news. The reason it didn’t is that the victim of his crime was another illegal immigrant.
People just didn’t care that much. So we need to view what the media says about these things. We need to view which news stories along these lines become popular through these lenses, on what the consumers actually care about. We need to look at the data, which is that illegal immigrants are much less likely to be criminals.
The annual chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil committed by a foreign born person is 1 in 3.8 million a year from 1975 through the end of 2017. Your annual chance of being murdered in a homicide during that time period, however, is about one in 14,000 per year. If you’re worried about immigrants or foreign born people committing terrorism and murdering you and your loved ones, I suggest that you calm down about it and I suggest that you view it as the very small risk that it is.
- Commentary: Alex Nowrasteh | Cato Institute
- JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 — Myths and Facts of Immigration Policy
- Twitter — @AlexNowrasteh
- AUDIO — Trump’s Immigration Crackdown (with Alex Nowrasteh) | Libertarianism.org
- The Immorality of Illegal Immigration | National Review by Victor Davis Hanson
- California Discovers Federalism with Joe Mathews
- Alex Nowrasteh on Misconceptions about Open Borders
- Alex Nowrasteh: How Prop. 187 Turned California Blue
- Immigrants — The Ultimate Entrepreneurs with Alex Nowrasteh
- Immigration Nation: Nowrasteh Sets it Straight Again
- ICE in the Age of Trump with Mitch Jeserich
- The War on Chinese Restaurants with Gabriel Chin
- Let Them All In with Alex Nowrasteh
- California Immigration Reform
- Arizona’s Immigration Reform with Nick Coons
- Immigration Reform Is Broken with Elise Foley
- Capitalism and Morality: Twin Pillars of the West with Jayant Bhandari
- Liberalism vs. Nationalism with Yoram Hazony