Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The bogus crime wave

Have you heard about the crime wave in Arizona, especially along the border with Mexico? Have you heard that Arizona is under attack from illegal immigrants and thus had to pass their own immigration law to deal with it? Well, if you have been listening to the Republican elected officials from that state like the senators, John Kyl and John McCain, and Gov. Jan Brewer, then you have certainly heard that. Endlessly.

But - and it's a great big but - that is a lie!

In fact, according to reports released by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, crime is down right across the state, following the nationwide trend. It is even down along the Arizona/Mexico border. For example, the rate of property crimes in the state has plummeted by 43% since 1995, but violent crimes also are down. The claims that Arizona is facing a crisis in crime increases and that people are afraid to walk the streets is simply not true.

The claims that illegal immigrants are creating a crime wave are completely bogus. Most illegal immigrants from Mexico are coming to seek work and a better life for themselves and their families and often are fleeing the drug wars in their own country. The last thing they want to do is call attention to themselves by committing crimes and causing the police to look for them.

Oh, but the "illegal immigrant crime wave" makes such a good story! And Republicans do love to tell stories. And who really cares whether they are true or not? Apparently our mainstream media don't because they let them spread these kinds of lies, unchallenged, time and time again. And lies, endlessly repeated, gain acceptance as truth from a lazy audience. Thus do urban legends begin and thus is our political discourse cheapened.

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