Senate State Affairs backed away from declaring Lutheran Social Services unfit to help refugees yesterday. After hearing from seven proponents and seventeen opponents on Senate Concurrent Resolution 15, bracketed by prime sponsor Senator Neal Tapio’s moral and emotional grandstanding, my Senator Al Novstrup hoghoused the anti-refugee resolution into a commendation of the President for his “unifying words and his commitment to the safety of the American people.” The only explicit xenophobia retained is Novstrup’s Whereas mention of the President’s “commitment to keeping our nation safe from radical Islamic terrorism.” SCR 15 passed the committee 6–3.
In general response to the xenophobia of people like Neal Tapio and Al Novstrup, internment camp survivor George Takei reminds us that research shows first-generation immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans:
Trump says immigrants commit more crimes. It’s simply untrue. Here’s the data, if it still matters. pic.twitter.com/XfoeRYMU0O
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 1, 2017
On another front, Governing data maven Mike Maciag deems the link between immigrants and high crime rates “mythical“:
To shed light on this contention, Governing conducted an original analysis using recently released metro area population estimates from the Pew Research Center for “unauthorized immigrants” — people who crossed the border illegally or overstayed visas. The analysis not only found no link with violent crime, but indicated concentrations of unauthorized immigrants were associated with marginally lower violent crime rates. A statistically significant negative correlation was also shown for property crimes. For every 1 percentage-point increase in the unauthorized immigrant share of a metro area’s population, average property crime rates dropped by 94 incidents per 100,000 residents.
…Our analysis of the Pew data, while limited to a narrow time period, mirrors findings of broader academic research dismissing a relationship between foreign-born residents, regardless of legal status, and higher crime rates.
“The literature is pretty clear,” says Robert Adelman, an associate professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. “Results are strong and stable across time and place” [Mike Maciag, “The Mythical Link Between Immigrants and High Crime Rates,” Governing, 2017.03.02].
Maciag notes that misperceptions persist be
“There’s a long history in our country of immigrants being scapegoated for all sorts of things,” says Monica Varsanyi, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice associate professor. “They are easy targets” [Maciag, 2017.03.02].
I feel less threatened by refugees and immigrants as a whole than I do by unmanned Republicans, including the President, who need someone to pick on to distract themselves from their fealty to falsehoods.
SCR 15 is not on today’s Senate calendar, but Senator Tapio will shortly get his chance to work up his tears and false fears and bracket our Islamic neighbors with “radical” and “terrorism” on behalf of his patron the President. (According to FEC filings, on September 21, 2016, the Donald Trump campaign paid Neal Tapio $5,537.84 for “field consulting.”)