Letters for Thursday, September 28, 2017

• Coulter off target regarding immigrants

Coulter off target regarding immigrants

Former corporate lawyer Ann Coulter’s fulmination against immigration and her argument that a Mexican border wall is essential (9/23/17) is largely factually untrue, and misleading otherwise. The following (until the penultimate paragraph) is quoted or paraphrased from government and private studies.

Forty million illegal immigrants? False. An estimated 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants resided in the United States as of January 2012 compared to 11.5 million in January 2011, according to the DHS Office of Immigration Statistics.

Her number is closer to the total number of foreign born in the US (41.4 million), of whom about half are now citizens, and half again documented. The percentage of immigrants is currently slightly under 15 percent, similar to 1860 through 1920, although the anti-immigration policies of the 1920s reduced the percentage to a low of about 5 percent in the late 60s and 70s.

Mexican immigrants are simultaneously over represented on welfare, and taking jobs from citizens? Misleading. Sixty-nine percent of the 11.2 million Mexican immigrants ages 16 and older were in the civilian labor force in 2015, a slightly higher labor force participation than for the overall foreign-born population ages 16 and older (66 percent) and the native-born population ages 16 and older (62 percent). The largest share of employed foreign-born workers, 31 percent, worked in management, professional, and related occupations.

Immigrants are more criminal? False. Several studies, over many years, have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. Illegal immigrants (0.85 percent incarceration rate) are 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives (1.53 percent). Legal immigrants (0.47 percent) are 69 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives. In fact, as the number of undocumented immigrants increased about threefold from 1990 to 2013, overall crime rates dropped.

350,000 illegal immigrants incarcerated? Seems a fabrication. The Congressional Research Service estimates the number of noncitizens (a category larger than undocumented) incarcerated in 2009 in federal and state prisons and local jails, at 173,000.

Murderers and rapists? Data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicate that violent crimes made up less than 1 percent of all crimes committed by criminal aliens, compared to 5 to 6 percent of all crimes committed by citizens.

In short, a better method (statistically, at least) than the wall to reduce both total US crimes committed and crime rates, is to select a few states with low immigrant populations and boot them out of the United States, while allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens.

Ann Coulter, don’t you want somebody to love? Don’t you need somebody to love?

Jed Somit, Kapaa


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