Immigrants and Crime

At a time when it is so easy to call unwanted facts fake news, it is doubly important to know what is fact and what is not. The administration’s immigration policies–whether building a wall, their stand on sanctuary cities, who can and cannot get a visa, deportations—are all based on the notion—or is it belief—that immigrants bring crimes and that criminals are coming in. It tells us that immigrants bring in gang members, traffickers, drug dealers and other undesirables. In fact the rhetoric has been so strong and so successful that according to a 2017 Gallup poll some 50% of Americans agreed that immigrants bring crime, or at least make crime worse. But that’s not what facts show. After reviewing several studies, an article in the Marshall Project found that “immigration populations in the United States have been growing fast for decades now. Crime in the same period, however, has moved in the opposite direction, with the national rate of violent crime today well below what it was in 1980.” A study in collaboration by four universities found the same thing. According to that study the same applies to even large metropolitan areas with large immigrant population. Again to quote from the article, “In general, the study’s data suggests either that immigration has the effect of reducing average crime, or that there is simply no relationship between the two,” Obviously the reverse of what the administration is maintaining. Continue reading “Immigrants and Crime”

Smuggling and Stopping The Buck

I write this just after reading a recent Rolling Stones’ article on human smuggling in the US, more specifically the activities of a few young men—and some young women— attending Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since Corpus as the locals call it is a city I know fairly well, and the people involved could have been people I knew, or like some of the people I know there, the story rang an even louder bell. These young people were party animals, into drugs and were brought into a smuggling operation through a friend they met a one such party. Corpus, is not far from the border, and residents are Continue reading “Smuggling and Stopping The Buck”

A Sad Story

Ruwan Rangana, from a small village in Sri Lanka, paid the equivalent of $1500 to be able to go to Australia. He traveled clandestinely about 3 weeks in a leaky trawler with dozens of others. But when he reached Australian waters, the boat was intercepted by the Australian Navy. A law passed a couple of years ago gives them the right to turn back boats of asylum seekers without their ever reaching Australian soil. This kind of fast track processing, sometimes no more than a phone call to a border official, enables them to say they have met the requirement and can legitimately deny asylum. The offshore fast tracking, however, is decried and criticized by several human rights groups. Once back in Sri Lanka Rangana was arrested, and was fortunate not to end up in jail because he was bailed out for $45, a heavy sum for his family which makes about $300 a month. When the case is disposed of, he probably won’t face a jail term, say the lawyers involved, but be given a fine around $750, something very stiff for a poor family. Now with no savings and no job, Rangana does odd jobs, barely making ends meet. Yet, he keeps hoping to try again to go to Australia despite the odds, because he feels that even were he to die at sea, it is better than to waste away in poverty.

With variations, some far worse, it is a sad story repeated thousands of times in any number of countries. It underlines that immigration laws in Australia, Europe, the U.S. or many other countries, are made by politicians mindful of their own concerns, not by statesmen and women interested in solving a big human problem.