Opponents Fabricate Border Town Crime Rate in an Attempt to Derail Immigration Reform
December 10, 2014
Washington, D.C.—Today, Brent Wilkes, Executive Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, released the following statement regarding the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing entitled “Keeping Families Together: The President’s Executive Action On Immigration And The Need To Pass Comprehensive Reform,” which is taking place today, Wednesday, December 10, 2014.
“I applaud Senator Leahy and other leaders on the Senate Judiciary Committee for holding a hearing on the importance of keeping families together. Our support of the president’s recent executive order is shared by the American people. In fact, according to recent polling, over 89 percent of Latino voters approve of the president’s actions, and over 60 percent of the American public support President Obama’s immigration reforms. While we understand that immigration issues solicit a passionate debate, we must continue to focus the conversation on preserving the family unit and on the millions of lives affected each day due to Congressional inaction. Productive debate also requires the discussion to be focused on truths rather than on blatantly false statements designed to undermine immigration reform.
“One area in which false statements are being made is in regard to border town security. Opponents to immigration reform have argued that border towns extending from California to Texas are venues where violence runs deep. Those allegations are contrary to the facts. For the past four years, the border community of El Paso, Texas, has been ranked as the safest city in the country, according to a report from the CQ Press. The data used in the report came from the Uniformed Crime Report, which is produced annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. What makes the ranking particularly interesting is that El Paso sits just a few minutes north of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, arguably one of the most violent cities in the Americas. Furthermore, El Paso is not the only border city to be considered among the safest cities in the U.S. San Diego, California; Yuma, Arizona; Brownsville, Texas; and others also make the list each year. According to the same FBI report, some of these cities received higher safety scores than cities such as Sioux City, Des Moines, and Davenport, Iowa, as well as Montgomery, Mobile, and Birmingham, Alabama. The cities were scored for categories that included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
“Opponents to immigration reform would be well served by better understanding these facts and engaging in a productive debate grounded in truth. This country needs comprehensive immigration reform now. The American people see past these attempts to derail, slow down, and ultimately doom the advancement of critical comprehensive immigration reform legislation that has been hailed for its economic benefits. LULAC will continue to focus the immigration debate on the hardworking immigrants who are a critical part of our country and of the Latino family.”