Donald Trump’s Immigration “Truths”
by Richard Brown
Donald J. Trump recently held an event in the Donald J. Trump grand ballroom of the Donald J. Trump Conference Center at the Trump National Resort in south Florida where all the entrances are bestowed with Trump’s name in golden letters and all the plastic cups and paper towels also bear His name. He attempted to make up to Latino voters, after having claimed in June, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re bringing drugs. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” In the aftermath, Trump explained, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” and “I can’t apologize for the truth. I said tremendous crime is coming across. Everybody knows that’s true.”
Except the Washington Post’s fact checking department, which stated, “there is no evidence immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans. In fact, first-generation immigrants are predisposed to lower crime rates than native-born Americans.” The Congressional Research Service, meanwhile, states that non-citizens make up a disproportionately small percentage of the inmates of state prisons and jails. The American Immigration Council (AIC) has found in polls taken every 10 years since 1980 that around 1.6% of immigrant males are incarcerated, compared to around 3.3% of native-born males. The AIC also compared data for males aged 18-39 without a high school diploma born in the US, in Mexico, and in El Salvador and Guatemala. The incarceration rates in the US for the US-born was 10.7% in 2010, 2.8% for the Mexican-born, and 1.7% for the Guatemalan/El Salvadoran-born.
As for the drugs, the Center for Investigative Reporting found in 2013 that four out of five arrests for drug smuggling were arrests of US citizens. All of this makes sense, according to the reports, because undocumented immigrants have more incentive to stay out of trouble, since any criminal arrest is likely to get them deported. As immigrants become more American, however, they get more criminal. Second-generation immigrants have similar crime rates as native-born Americans whose families immigrated far before.
The Washington Post concluded its analysis: “Trump’s repeated statements about immigrants and crime underscore a common public perception that crime is correlated with immigration, especially illegal immigration. But it is a misperception; no solid data support it, and the data that do exist negate it.”
So anyway, in the Donald J. Trump grand ballroom, Donald J. Trump said, “I’m going to win the Hispanics. I love the Hispanics. They’re unbelievable people… I love them, I love them.” Recent polls show that around 80% of Latino voters in the US have an unfavorable view of Trump, and only 22% would vote for him over Hillary Clinton. The Latinos who favor Trump, including those who make up the group “Latinos for Trump,” are generally of Cuban or South American heritage. Unfortunately for The Donald, in 2012, 52% of Hispanic voters were of Mexican origin, while the second-largest group at 14% was Puerto Rican. Campaigners predict that Trump would have to win 40% of Latino votes to win the 2016 general election, far higher than the 23% that Mitt Romney won in 2012. (George W. Bush won 44% when he was re-elected in 2004). Latinos will make up 13% of eligible US voters in 2016, up from 11% in 2012. By 2060, Latinos are expected to represent around 30% of the population. Good luck with that, Donald!