Saturday, May 15, 2010

Borderline Facts

One of the reasons the Arizona legislature gave for passing their “papers, please” immigration law was because of the raging drug wars going on in Mexico. They claimed that crime was increasing in border towns like Nogales, Arizona, and other places. Yeah, except that’s not actually supported by the facts.

Reporting from Nogales, Ariz.
On the other side of the metal barrier that separates this town from its namesake in Mexico, there have already been more than 120 homicides this year, including the assassination of the assistant police chief.

In this sleepy town of 21,000, there hasn’t been a killing in three years.

“If you look at it statistically, if you look at the community as a whole, it’s very, very safe,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Kirkham.

Despite the drug war that has claimed thousands of lives in Mexico, communities along the U.S. side of the 2,000-mile southern border have shown virtually no increase in crime for several years.

There are dozens of towns, counties and cities along the border and no single measure of crime along the whole frontier. But a review of crime statistics for the largest communities and interviews with law enforcement officials from Texas to California show that, despite a widespread perception that the violence in Mexico has spread north, U.S. border communities are fairly secure. Some have even become safer.

The counter argument is, “Well, it could spill over the border and wreak havoc in Tucson.” That’s like saying a mob war in Brooklyn could spill over into Darien, Connecticut, or a giant asteroid could smash into Disneyland and wipe out the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why don’t they just come out and say they’re basically anti-immigrant, legal or otherwise, and stop coming up with these obviously fatuous reasons? It would, at least, be honest.