Supporters of Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070 claim that the residents of the Grand Canyon State need to be protected from crime and kidnapping perpetrated by illegal immigrants. But, the truth is, rising immigration is responsible for crime reduction and in Arizona the people most likely to be kidnapped are undocumented immigrants themselves! Before throwing your hands up in frustration and defeat when you hear this myth about the need to have SB 10170, and laws like it, for the sake of public safety, consider responding with these quick mythbusting facts!
FACT:Statistical models suggest that cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in homicide and robbery during the same time period. According to sociologist Tim Wadsworth, the findings offer insights into the complex relationship between immigration and crime and suggest that growth in immigration may have been responsible for part of the precipitous crime drop of the 1990s.
FACT:Some police chiefs believe that crime will actually go up if SB 1070 becomes law in Arizona or in any other state. They believe that diverting resources away from the fight against violent crime and breaking down the hard-won trust between cops and the communities where they work will make it harder to keep people safe. Police chiefs have argued that, “This is not a law that increases public safety. This is a bill that makes it much harder for us to do our jobs,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
FACT: Most of the kidnappings that do occur in Phoenix are of undocumented immigrants. As Terry Greene Sterling describes in her book Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone, most of the kidnapping victims in Phoenix are unauthorized immigrants held for ransom by the smugglers (coyotes) they hire to bring them to the United States. These are “drop house” kidnappings in which “incoming migrants at the border are baited with low smuggling fares. Those low fares are ramped up by thousands of dollars once the migrants are held at gunpoint in a drop house.”
More mythbusting facts on this issue can be found in Separating Fact from Fiction: The Truth about Kidnapping in Arizona, a report from the Immigration Policy Center.
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