You know how Gov. Jan Brewer and teabagger wannabe, John McCain, talk about the illegal immigrant crisis in Arizona? You know how they portray the state as the most dangerous in the nation as a result of illegal immigration?
Well, I hate to get in the way of a good political campaign theme, but the facts tell a very different story.
Truth is, violent crime has been dropping in AZ for decades. In 2009, violent crime was the lowest since 1983. And property crimes were the lowest since 1968. Some crime wave, huh? By comparison, for 2007, there were 177 more violent crimes in Sarah Palins Alaska than in Arizona. And there were 241 more violent cimes in neighboring Nevada.
In Nogales, AZ which sits on the border with Mexico, there were 23 violent crimes in 2000 and only 19 in 2009. In fact, the Sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, has been quoted as saying the border has never been more secure. Statistics back that up. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, there are nearly 10 federal agents per mile of Arizona border more than any time in our history. And President Obama just dispatched more than 500 National Guard troops to the Arizona/Mexico border twice what Gov. Brewer requested. Yet she continues to say that the current administration has done nothing to curb illegal immigration and violence along the border!
Brewer and McCain also imply that illegal immigrants commit a disproportionate percentage of crimes. Although the state and federal government do not track the number of crimes committed by illegals, there is one indication that’s another lie. In Cochise County, which borders Mexico, only 4 percent of the crimes are committed by illegal residents roughly equal to their proportion of the population.
So, as it turns out, you have little to fear from illegals by coming to AZ. And though I believe we must do even more to curtail illegal immigration, there are many other things of more pressing concern for our state – like Arizona traffic. There were 1066 traffic deaths in the state for 2007. But many of the same people who are screaming about illegal immigration have demanded that the state remove its photo radar cameras which target those who speed and run red lights. Now those people are scary!