Stephen Dinanm Washington Times, January 26, 2018
The crime rate among illegal immigrants in Arizona is twice that of other residents, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday, citing a new report based on conviction data.
The report, from the Crime Prevention Research Center, used a previously untapped set of data from Arizona that detailed criminal convictions and found that illegal immigrants between 15 and 35 are less than 3 percent of the state’s population, but nearly 8 percent of its prison population.
And the crimes they were convicted of were, on the whole, more serious, said John R. Lott Jr., the report’s author and president of the research center.
His findings also challenge the general narrative that immigrants commit fewer crimes. Those past studies usually don’t look at legal versus illegal populations, Mr. Lott said.
Mr. Lott said the Arizona data is able to peek behind that curtain, and the differences between the populations were stark.
Among nearly 4,000 first- and second-degree murder convictions, undocumented immigrants accounted for nearly 13 percent — significantly higher than their percentage of the population. Legal immigrants, by contrast, were less than 1 percent of convicts. Native-born made up the rest.
Undocumented immigrants also accounted for five times the rate of convictions for money laundering and kidnapping, and were three times more likely to be convicted of drive-by shootings.
The data covered from 1985 to 2017. For his data purposes, Mr. Lott defined undocumented immigrants as those who weren’t U.S. citizens or green card holders, signaling permanent residency.
He said the crime rates of the undocumented who were ages 18 to 35 was particularly important, given the ongoing debate over legalizing illegal immigrant “Dreamers.” He said the Arizona data showed that population had crime rates 250 percent higher than their share of the population would have predicted.
[Editor’s Note: John Lott’s report, “Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona,” is available here.]