Despite the bloody picture that many U.S. politicians have painted – a USA Today special analysis found that rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years, even prior to the U.S. security buildup. It looks like those famous quotes from U.S. politicians, such as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s warning that human skulls were rolling through her state’s deserts, and Rep. John Culberson’s (R-Texas,) claim that violence on the U.S. side of the border was “out of control” run counter to police reports and violent crime statistics.
In fact, the USA Today analysis found that U.S. border cities are statistically safer on average than other cities in their states, and that murder, robbery and kidnapping rates were all on the decline. The analysis drew from more than 10 years of detailed crime data reported by more than 1,600 local law enforcement agencies in four states, as well as federal crime statistics and interviews along the border from California to Texas.
As USA Today points out, the appearance of an out-of-control border region continues to have wide-ranging effects including:
Stalling efforts to pass a national immigration reform law, fueling stringent anti-immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, and increasing the amount of federal tax dollars going to build more fencing and add security personnel along the southwestern border.
San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez said some of the money going to border security should instead be going to expanding the existing ports of entry and adding new ones to allow the state’s already-hurting economy a chance to recover. But, he said, the image of a lawless border makes it impossible to even discuss the topic.
“When you’ve got the national rhetoric about illegal immigration, you can never get to a conversation about legal immigration,” Alvarez said. “Effective border crossings and better regional economics don’t sell newspapers.”
To read the full article, go here.