|Arizona Governor Jan Brewer|
In April, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona said that the state was going through a crime wave because of illegal immigrants. Illegal’s had “invaded” the state over the last decade and pushed crime up, especially murder and kidnapping.
Well, show me the money, as the expression goes.
The fact is, crime is down. According to the latest reports from the FBI, the four large cities in the U. S. (that is, cities with population over 500,000) with the lowest violent crime are all in the southwest, San Diego in California, Austin and El Paso in Texas and yes, Phoenix, Arizona. Larry Dever, sheriff of Cochise County, where a popular farmer was killed a few months ago and blamed on illegal immigrants says that, “we’re not seeing the [violent crime] that’s going on” across the border.
Arizona has an illegal immigration problem that is only second to California. But, last year, the state’s overall crime dropped 12%. Between 2004 and 2008 it experienced an ever higher drop in crime of 23%. The city of Phoenix had a drop of 17% in violent crime last year and over 33% drop in the past decade.
States, according to the constitution, have not been granted the power to decide who belongs here and who doesn’t. It is the Federal government’s responsibility. Even given some disagreement with the responsibilities, if each state determines citizenship for the country, we will end up with a patch work of legislation that would confuse honest residents and leave gaping holes that could be exploited by those that would do the country harm. (Image, a cop in Michigan determining whose citizenship laws he should know about when arresting an individual.)
The country does have an illegal immigration problem. As with any issue, let’s face the problem on honest and real terms. By making grand statements that are at best just not true, we confuse the issue and raise fears that have no basis. Government has a responsibility to create legislation that is limited to the problem. Unsupported claims of violence in this case only promotes legislation that goes well beyond the limits of government responsibility.