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Expert: Conservative Activists Get Facts Wrong About Immigrants, Crime

May 12, 2022 (1 min read)

Josh Kelety, Associated Press, May 12, 2022

"A video from 2018 featuring two prominent conservative activists making claims about immigrants coming into the U.S. has resurfaced and is circulating widely on social media. In the clip, Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA, and Candace Owens, a conservative commentator, are speaking to a live audience about immigration and calling for a border wall. But experts say many of the claims they make to support their argument are false or misleading. ... CLAIM: Immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who come from Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador are “twice as likely” to commit crime than U.S.-born citizens. THE FACTS: False. Research shows that immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission commit crimes at lower rates in comparison to citizens born in the country. Experts say no evidence supports the notion that immigrants from those specific countries commit more crime. ... “Almost every reputable report that I have seen has found that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native born U.S. citizens,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor at Cornell University who teaches immigration law. Yale-Loehr cited a 2020 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal. The study used data from the Texas Department of Public Safety and found that immigrants living in the U.S. illegally have “substantially lower crime rates than native-born citizens and legal immigrants across a range of felony offenses.”