Immigrant Crime Wave a Myth

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LOS ANGELES -- The main argument behind Arizona’s new law, SB 1070, is that the state’s presumed crime wave is linked to undocumented immigrants. But according to an editorial in Spanish-language daily La Opinión, statistics provided by local FBI officials tell a different story.

Anyone listening to the debate over the undocumented in Arizona would think that the undocumented are responsible for a wave of violence. In fact, crime across the state has consistently declined over the years despite an increase in the population. Meanwhile, even in areas such as Nogales, Douglas and Yuma, the rate of crime has not increased over the past decade, despite the explosion of Mexico’s violence in the border zone. This is also true for Cochise, the county in which rancher Robert Krentz was murdered.

Widespread doubts remain about the initial testimony pointing to an undocumented Mexican immigrant as responsible for the rancher's death. Outrage over the murder fueled support for the controversial law.

The irony, editors write, is that this type of legislation, which turns police into immigration agents, hurts the very mission of protecting the public from crime.