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Crime Rate in the United States due to Illegal Immigration

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    The propensity of committing crimes in the United States is attributed to illegal migration. According to the essay (focus of rebuttal), illegal immigration has skyrocket crime rates in the United States. For example, in Los Angeles, 95% of all prominent homicide cases are accounted for illegal migrants. One study indicated that at the end of 2003, there were approximately 267, 00 illegal aliens incarcerated in US correctional facilities.

    Other studies attributed 12% of felonies, 25% of burglaries, 34% of thefts, and 2% of sexual offenses to illegal migrants. The Immigration Policy Center, though, in a recent study released last Monday said that illegal immigration does not raise the crime rate in the United States. Specifically, the study indicated that incarceration rates among young men aged 12 to 38 are generally lowest for immigrants. It was even noted that incarceration of US born men (from 18 to 39 years old) in 2000 was five times higher than immigrants (both legal and illegal) – about 3.5% (Moscoso 1).

    The study indicated that although the illegal immigrant population doubled to 12 million, violent crime (which is the type of crime that the previous essay was trying to project as the result of increased illegal immigration) has declined to 34%. Property crime has fallen by 26%, a percentage which can be described as significant. The same study also said that foreign-born Mexicans had a much lower incarceration rate than US-born males of Mexican descent (0.7% versus 5.9%) (Moscoso 1). Thus, the study concluded that there is no correlation between illegal immigration to the United States and crime rate.

    Far from presenting raw data to the American public, one of the researchers (Ruben G. Rumbaut) noted that “the misperception that immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, are responsible for higher crime rates is deeply rooted in American public opinion and is sustained by media anecdotes and popular myth” (Moscoso 1). Thus, not only the study proved that illegal immigration is not the cause of crimes in the United States; it also proved that media perception of illegal immigration was well incorporated into the mindset of the majority of the American public (through media exposure).

    The second argument presented by the previous essay had something to do with border security. In 2005, the so-called Border Patrol apprehended over 1.2 million illegal aliens; 10% of those came from countries other than Mexico. Six hundred and fifty of these non-Mexican aliens were from “special interest countries” (countries designated by the intelligence community as a country that could export individuals that could bring harm to our country in a way of terrorism).

    The essay noted that individuals with ties from the Al-Qaeda were changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic ones to avoid apprehension by the police or the intelligence community. This rebuttal essay is not supportive of terrorism nor conjures to the idea of displaying a country open to terrorism. What this rebuttal essay wants to present is how the United States government, especially the executive branch of the government, implemented “effective” measures to combat terrorism, via some “open” channels like immigration. Following the 9/11 attack, the US Congress passed the so-called US Patriot Act of 2001 (entitled “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism”).

    The Act is divided into ten parts which deal mostly on increasing the intelligence capacity of CIA, protecting the national border, freezing accounts which are suspiciously held by terrorists, increasing the term of imprisonment for terrorists, certain provisions for enhancing surveillance procedures of the intelligence agency, a provision for removing obstacles to investigating terrorism, and, of course, provisions for protecting the borders of the United States from possible terrorist attacks through the strengthening of the Border Patrol. In 2005, President Bush signed another law which aimed to hire 10 000 more Border Patrol agents (2000 per year). The Border Patrol has about 9500 agents in its payroll.

    The general task of these agents is to patrol 8000 miles of border (Canadian and Mexican borders). The Bush government though ignored the law and instead of providing funds for 2000 additional agents (in the given year), procured package funds for just 210 new agents (White 1). Although both Houses of Congress bypassed the White House (in 2005) and hired additional 1500 agents, it was still short of the required increment per year (the hiring was effective only in 2005).

    Thus, the threat of terrorism has become more and more pronounced in the United States not because illegal immigrants can easily pass to the borders but to the lack of political will of the Bush government to end illegal immigration. Now while it is true that illegal immigration can bring about a surge of migrants from ”special interest countries”, it should be noted that the Homeland Security and the intelligence community is now capable of tracking immigrants who have direct links to the Al-Qaeda through a special law passed in Congress.

    The Department of Homeland Security was strengthened and realigned with other agencies of government on its primary responsibility – war on terror. Suspected terrorists were prevented from leaving the United States. Documents were furnished by the intelligence community to the said department, for validation (Chertoff 1). Thus, there is reason to believe that terrorism has been checked in the United States. Legal or illegal immigration, the Homeland Security Department (through the cooperation of other government agencies) can curb the threat of terrorism.

    The last argument of the previous essay had something to do with drug importation and increase of diseased in the United States. The previous essay noted that a significant proportion of illegal immigrants are active in drug trafficking. Nonetheless, because of “increased” illegal immigration in the United States, types of diseases are springing up in every major American city. This is an argument that does not take into consideration the actual proportion of US born citizens who are actively engaged in drug use or in many cases trafficking. For one, drug trafficking in the United States because there is both a potential market for users as well as links. When referring to links, one is forced to consider US born citizens. Thus, in a study conducted by the Immigration Policy Center, it was indicated that illegal immigration accounted to only 22% of drug trafficking in the United States, far lower than “roles” of American mafias in major American cities.

    The increasing surge of illegal immigration in the United States is caused primarily by the economic environment of the United States. The United States economy offers illegal migrants better working conditions and income than their countries of origin. This surge though is not only a result of economic motivation on the part of the illegal migrants. Many corporations, especially those near the Mexican-US border prefer illegal migrants because it enables them to cut expenses (cheaper wages) (White 2). Many of these corporations are secretly “hiring” illegal migrant; thus motivating people from Mexico to work in the United States illegally.

    Works Cited

    • Chertoff, Sec. Michael, Dept. of Homeland Security. Address to Commerce Secretary Gutierrez At A Press Conference On Border Security And Administrative Immigration Reform August 10, 2007.
    • Moscoso, Eunice. Study: Immigrants don’t raise U.S. crime rate (Published 2/27/07). Arizona, Cox News Service, 2007. URL http://www.azstarnet.com/news/171109. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
    • White, Deborah. Why the Federal Government Can’t End Illegal Immigration. Illegal Immigration Explained – Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation. New York Times Company, 2007. URL http://usliberals.about.com/od/immigration/a/IllegalImmi.htm. Retrieved October 7, 2007.

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