Following a major USA Today story analyzing crime in U.S. cities along the border with Mexico, Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and John McCain (R-AZ) would do well to heed the famous advice of Daniel Patrick Moynihan:
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
For years, these politicians have been ginning up fear and anxiety about lawlessness in America’s border towns as part of a concerted strategy to block comprehensive immigration reform. The argument goes: we can’t tackle other elements of our broken immigration system until the border is secure, and right now the border is out of control.
And guess who they blame for that “lack of control?” President Obama of course.
Curiously, this strategy also portrays their own states and towns as dangerous—something that has long bothered border residents and leaders from law enforcement and local government because it is blatantly untrue.
But an extensively-researched story in USA Today proves that these “border state leaders” arguments’ are based on politics, not reality. According to USA Today:
“rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years — even before the U.S. security buildup that has included thousands of law enforcement officers and expansion of a massive fence along the border. U.S. border cities were statistically safer on average than other cities in their states. Those border cities, big and small, have maintained lower crime rates than the national average, which itself has been falling.”
On the heels of new studies and assessments demonstrating that the flow of illegal immigration has dramatically declined, the actual facts regarding border crime show that “border first” politicians like McCain, Kyl, and Cornyn have run out of excuses. The country—and yes, the Obama Administration—has made serious strides in improving security along the border. But unless and until we deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country today, our immigration system will remain broken.