In light of growing challenges to Arizona’s new immigration law (including the latest rumors sparked by a June 8th interview with Hillary Clinton that the Justice Department may file suit), Governor Jan Brewer continues to defend it adamantly. She’s appears to now be raising outside money to do so under the banner “Keep AZ Safe.”
Ramping up her rhetoric, Brewer has cited security issues and increasing violence as motives for the law’s enactment. Recently she claimed it necessary to protect Arizona from the “murder, terror, and mayhem” carried out by, “some of the most vicious and dangerous narco-terror organizations the world has seen.” “The horrendous violence,” she says, “is uncontrolled.”
However, a quick look at Arizona’s crime statistics reveals her rhetoric is inspired more by politics than reality. As the Center for American Progress lays out in a new memo, Arizona is actually becoming safer. Since 2006, violent crimes in Arizona have gone down by 15 percent and the per-capita crime rate dropped by 22 percent. Arizona’s drops in crime are outpacing the national average. Further unveiling Brewer’s false association between criminal violence and immigration, border cities and border countries are some of the safest in the country. Violent crime rates have dropped more than 30 percent in Southwestern border counties since the 1990s.
Disregarding these facts, Brewer has attempted to prey on people’s fears of the Mexican Drug War, alleging that federal inaction to secure the border is allowing the drug violence to spill into the states. Evidence of such a spillover however has yet to be seen. CAP notes:
El Paso, Texas has three bridges leading directly into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where the number of killings has approached 23,000 since 2006. El Paso experienced only 12 murders in 2009, which was actually down from 17 in 2008.” Tucson, Arizona and San Diego California have also seen a drop in murders.