Here's a thought about the relationship between aliens and crime that was inspired by the appearance of my colleague, Jessica Vaughan, on the PBS "NewsHour" Friday night. (She was, in the lamentable PBS-NPR tradition, outnumbered by being cast opposite two open-borders people.)
The other two argued that lots of immigration was good for the nation because aliens were less likely to commit crimes than other people. Vaughan said that the incidence of crime was about the same in both populations, and that this should not be the subject of the debate.
What we should be talking about, she said, is what to do with the admitted criminals in the alien population, something dramatized recently in San Francisco when an alien who should have been turned over to ICE was set free instead and murdered an innocent woman.
Stepping back a bit from this discussion, it struck me that:
- There are criminals within both the main and the alien populations;
- We put citizen criminals in jail, but, in most cases, we must eventually release them; and
- We also put aliens in jail, but they can, and should be, deported on release.
Since this is the case, the alien criminal population should always be reduced by deportation. There is no comparable dynamic going on within the citizen population.
I am not at all sure that crime is less common among aliens, particularly among illegal ones, than among citizens, but if that is the case, deportation may be the principal reason.