The Border Crisis and Violent Crime

Americans are right to be concerned about the impact of illegal immigration on crime. Studies suggesting otherwise are deeply flawed.

By Jason Richwine on March 9, 2023

When Joe Biden chose to revoke the Trump administration’s border rules, he sparked an unprecedented crisis at the southern border. The illegal immigrant population has already risen by two million since Biden’s inauguration, and the flow has not stopped. Some of the consequences of this crisis are indisputable — a strain on border communities, a fiscal burden for taxpayers, and a weakening of the rule of law.

Another important consequence, although fraught with controversy, is a potential increase in violent crime. Despite advocates’ repeated insistence that illegal immigrants do not threaten public safety, the evidence is not so clear. In fact, some data out of Texas suggest that illegal immigrants are convicted of homicide and sexual assault at higher rates than the state average. In thinking about illegal immigrant criminality, it is important to distinguish the number of crimes from the rate of crime. There is no question that illegal immigrants have committed a large number of crimes in border states such as Texas. The state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have been arrested in Texas on all manner of charges, including 986 homicide charges dating back to 2011.

These numbers are damning enough for some opponents of illegal immigration. From their perspective, the only acceptable number of illegal immigrant crimes is zero, since illegal immigrants should not be here in the first place. If we want to know the impact of illegal immigration specifically on public safety, however, we need to consider the rate at which illegal immigrants commit crime. After all, a town with 10,000 people and three murders is clearly safer than a town with 1,000 people and two murders, even though the latter has fewer total murders.


[Read the rest at American Greatness]