Politics

No, migrants are not driving a surge in violent crime as Trump claims

Daniel Steinle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Republicans – including former President Donald Trump – who disagree with President Joe Biden’s immigration policies paint a dire picture of America as a country ruined by crime committed by migrants living illegally in the U.S.

It is true that some people who have committed the misdemeanor of crossing the border illegally have gone on to commit much more serious crimes. Trump has repeatedly attempted to put a national spotlight on these cases, including some gruesome murders.

However, like other claims the former president makes, his stories of what he calls “migrant crime” can be heavily skewed, exaggerated and fuel a baseless narrative.

Trump’s anecdotal accounts do not acknowledge the fact that U.S. citizens commit crimes at higher rates than undocumented immigrants.

“Relative to undocumented immigrants, U.S.-born citizens are over 2 times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes, 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and over 4 times more likely to be arrested for property crimes,” according to a 2020 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Overall, nationwide crime declined in 2023, according to the FBI. Homicide declined by 13% compared to 2022, the data show. The declining crime rate followed an unprecedented spike in homicides from 2019 to 2020.

While it is unclear how crime rates in 2024 will ultimately pan out, early data shows murder is down 20% his year, according to Jeff Asher, a data analyst and co-founder of the firm AH Datalytics.

Further research shows Trump’s presidency did not result in more arrests of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

A December 2023 study in the journal Crime and Delinquency found Trump ultimately did not make his crime reduction pledge a reality.

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