Jeralyn Merritt addresses the rightwing's recent handwringing about the supposed rampant criminality of America's immigrant population. Needless to say, the facts don't exactly back up their breathless assertions.
From the article:
The politics of fear and prejudice are front and center. Conservative politicians and talk show hosts can't seem to get enough of it.
Two unrelated, random crimes on opposite sides of the country are the genesis of the latest wave of immigrant-bashing — a gangland-style execution of three college students in Newark, N.J., and the slaying of a 15-year-old girl in Oregon.
One of the suspects in the Newark case is an undocumented resident from Peru who was out on bail on a serious felony charge at the time of the crime. Both suspects in the Oregon case are noncitizens, one of whom has a DUI conviction and the other a clear record. The two cases are fueling unwarranted hysteria against immigrants.
There is no immigrant crime wave in the United States. Statistics prove it. In June, as it does every year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its "Report on the Number of Prison and Jail Inmates."
As of June 2006, there were more than 2.25 million federal and state inmates. Just 4 percent — fewer than 100,000 — were noncitizens, a group that includes both those here legally and those here without proper documentation. While there were 331 more noncitizen inmates in 2006 than 2005, that number was still 700 less than in 2004.