DENVER – As President Donald Trump continues to make good on promises to deport undocumented immigrants – with some seeking protection in sanctuary churches – a new study shows U.S. cities with large immigrant populations experience lower rates of crime.
Contrary to the president’s statements, four decades of evidence shows no link between immigration and increased crime, according to Robert Adelman, the study’s lead author at the State University of New York.
“For crimes like murder, robbery, burglary and larceny – as immigration increases, crime decreases on average in American metropolitan areas,” he points out. “We found no effect of immigration on aggravated assault.”
Researchers studied census and FBI crime data in 200 metropolitan areas from 1970 to 2010.
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly maintained immigrants increased crime. Since taking office, he has signed executive orders restricting entry into the U.S., prioritizing deportation, authorizing construction of a wall on the Mexico border, and withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities.
Adelman says facts are critical in the current political environment, and points to research showing foreign-born individuals are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.
In his view, the benefits brought by immigrant populations to U.S. cities outweigh any perceived risks.
“When we think about the benefits of immigration, you can think of economic revitalization, population growth, contributing to lower rates of vacant and abandoned buildings, cultural enrichment and – with our findings, in many cases – lower levels of crime,” Adelman stresses.
Adelman adds he hopes the research will help policymakers make decisions based on scientific evidence, not ideologies and claims that demonize particular segments of the U.S. population without facts to back them up.
A majority of Texans support banning Syrian refugees and blocking individuals from seven countries from entering the United States, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
They balk, but only a bit, at banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the country, the poll found.
Asked about banning Syrian refugees, 54 percent they support that policy — 37 percent of them “strongly” so. Republicans are with President Trump on the issue: 65 percent strongly support a ban, and another 17 percent “somewhat” support a ban. Democrats are on the other side, with 51 percent “strongly” opposing the ban and 18 percent “somewhat” opposing it. White Texans support a ban (63 percent), while a plurality of black (49 percent) and a slight majority of Hispanic Texans (51 percent) oppose one.
The responses were similar to a question about blocking entry of people traveling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — the seven countries listed in an executive order from President Trump. Overall, 56 percent support temporarily blocking entry from those countries while 38 percent oppose it. Again, there’s a partisan split, with 88 percent of Republicans in favor and 71 percent of Democrats opposed to blocking travel.
“I’m used to talking about how Texans are more open about this stuff, but these are more conservative than the national numbers,” said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.
Republicans said they would support banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the U.S., with 51 percent strongly in support and another 16 percent somewhat in support. But the overall numbers for a religious ban were mixed, with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed. Among Democrats, only 19 percent support a ban, while 56 were strongly opposed and another 16 percent were somewhat opposed.
“The administration has claimed that this is not a Muslim ban, and you can see the social undesirability of it in the answer here,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin.
Half of Texans oppose “sanctuary” cities, where local police and city government employees don’t automatically enforce immigration laws by turning undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities. Only 37 percent support that practice.
Republicans in state government are pushing hard for a ban on sanctuary cities, and their voters appear to be solidly behind them: 71 percent “strongly oppose” sanctuary cities and another 8 percent “somewhat oppose” them. Democrats support them, but not as intensely: 41 percent strongly support sanctuary cities and 24 percent somewhat support them.
A narrow majority of Hispanics — 53 percent — are with the sanctuary cities. Among white Texans, 30 percent are with them and 61 percent are against; 41 percent of black Texans are with the cities and 29 percent are against.
“This the kind of debate that does better in the ivory tower than it does out on the streets,” said Shaw. “But if the supporters of sanctuary cities get their message out, their base lines up. The overall numbers are dismal, but Democrats in the electorate are open to it if their elites can and will make the argument.”
A plurality of Texans — 47 percent — would continue to extend in-state tuition at state colleges and universities to undocumented immigrants who graduated from Texas high schools, have lived in the state for three years or more and have applied for U.S. citizenship. More than a third — 36 percent — would have those students pay higher out-of-state tuition rates.
As in so many responses in the current poll, the party flags were flying in these answers: 66 percent of Democrats said the students should pay in-state tuition, and 57 percent of Republicans said they should pay out-of-state tuition. Among Tea Party Republicans, 68 percent said out-of-state tuition should apply.
Even so, Texas politicians have been more forgiving on this issue than their counterparts in other states, and they have suffered for that in national elections.
“[National politicians] wonder why Rick Perry and others had this albatross around their necks, but they were reflecting Texas attitudes,” Shaw said.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Feb. 3 to Feb. 10 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
This is one of several stories on the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Yesterday: What Texans think of the new president, and their views on the economy and the direction of the country and state. Coming Wednesday: Texas voters on education.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
UT/TT Poll, February 2017 – Summary(287.5 KB) DOWNLOAD
UT/TT Poll, February 2017 – Methodology(52.9 KB) DOWNLOAD
The Trump administration on Tuesday moved one step closer to implementing the president’s plans to aggressively rid the country of undocumented immigrants and expand local police-based enforcement of border security operations.
In a fact sheet outlining the efforts, the Department of Homeland Security said that though their top priority is finding and removing undocumented immigrants with criminal histories, millions more may also be subject to immediate removal.
“With extremely limited exceptions, DHS will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States,” the fact sheet explains. “The guidance makes clear, however, that ICE should prioritize several categories of removable aliens who have committed crimes, beginning with those convicted of a criminal offense.”
The memo did not include instructions to halt the 2012 executive action called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which has allowed about 750,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to live and work in the country legally.
The guidelines also state that the Department of Homeland Security has authority to expedite the removal of undocumented immigrants who have been in the country illegally for at least two years, a departure from the Obama administration’s approach of concentrating mainly on newly arriving immigrants.
“To date, expedited removal has been exercised only for aliens encountered within 100 air miles of the border and 14 days of entry, and aliens who arrived in the United States by sea other than at a port of entry,” the agency states.
The action also seeks to expand a police-based immigration enforcement program known as 287(g), which allows local and state officers to perform immigration duties if they undergo the requisite training. The program fell out of favor under the Obama administration after Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced in 2012 that it wouldn’t renew contracts that were in place at the time.
“Empowering state and local law enforcement agencies to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law is critical to an effective enforcement strategy, and CBP and ICE will work with interested and eligible jurisdictions,” the memo reads.
Expansion of the 287(g) program will be concentrated on the “border regions,” according to the memo. It’s still unclear what the sweeping measures mean for state-based immigration efforts in Texas. The Legislature is currently debating a bill to outlaw “sanctuary” jurisdictions in Texas, the term commonly assigned to local entities that don’t enforce immigration laws or hand over undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.
Since the November election, lawmakers have expressed hope that the Trump administration would make good on Trump’s promises to secure the border but have continued plans to focus on the issue in Austin while Washington was fine-tuning its efforts.
Immigrant rights groups immediately blasted the news Tuesday as a mass-deportation campaign that goes against stated promises to only concentrate on criminal aliens.
“Now they are openly admitting that they ‘will not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,’” said Lynn Tramonte, the deputy director of America’s Voice Education Fund, an immigrant rights group, in an statement. “These memos amount to an instruction manual for the coast-to-coast, fast-track deportation of everyone in the United States without papers, no matter how long they’ve been here, how strong their family ties, and how much they contribute.”
The memo also calls for immediately hiring 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, asks Homeland Security to identify all sources of federal aid to Mexico over the last five years and calls for the agency to identify and allocate all sources of available funding for the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of a border wall. Under the new guidelines, all undocumented people approved for deportation will be returned to the country from which they entered illegally instead of where they originally came from. That means Mexico will see an influx of immigrants from Central America and elsewhere who used the country as an entry point into the United States.
On Monday, ProPublica, citing former Mexican and American officials, reported on how that policy shift could create new security issues for the region “as authorities in each country push unwanted migrants back and forth.”
DALLAS — As President Trump’s executive order plunged the U.S. immigration system into chaos over the weekend, refugee advocates in Texas were scrambling to make sense of the situation.
Hundreds of migrants were detained at international airports around the country, including at Dallas-Fort Worth International and Houston’s Bush Intercontinental, before an order from a federal judge prompted the release of most – but not all – of them.
Aaron Rippenkroeger, CEO of Refugee Services of Texas, a statewide nonprofit advocacy group, called President Trump’s new policy un-American.
“We don’t agree with this action, but even so, there’s just so many better ways it could’ve been done,” Rippenkroeger said. “But to do it so abruptly with people in transit – literally mid-air – is just horrifying. It’s really a travesty, both the action and also the way it was carried out.”
The president signed the order Friday afternoon. It bans Syrian refugees, temporarily blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and suspends all refugee admissions for four months.
Many refugees were in transit when the order was issued and were initially detained or turned back when their flights arrived in the U.S.
The events spurred protests at major airports over the weekend, including those in Texas. Rippenkroeger said the new policy is causing fear and confusion among refugees already settled here.
“We have refugees coming into our office,” said Rippenkrieger, “saying, ‘Am I going to be sent back to the war zone that I came from? What does this mean? Am I no longer allowed to stay here? Am I not going to be able to go through the citizenship process that you all explained to me?'”
Despite opposition from the political right, Texas has taken in the second-greatest number of refugees in the U.S. in recent years. Rippenkroeger said the vetting for migrants wishing to enter the U.S. already is the toughest anywhere.
“The most extreme in the world, already, from any country by far,” he said. “It’s more rigorous than any other country does and by far the most rigorous that the U.S. has ever had, and by far more than anyone else traveling to the U.S.”
Rippenkroeger said he is heartened that, despite the partisan rhetoric, thousands of everyday Texans have volunteered to help settle the state’s refugees and make them feel welcome.
While the ruling had been long-sought by immigration activists, the flood of families released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has temporarily overwhelmed relief organizations.
Amy Fischer, policy director at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), said it normally assists just a few families at a time. She said ICE’s actions prove there’s no real need for family detention.
“The Obama Administration has upheld their use of family detention by saying that there is processing that is necessary, that happens in detention centers,” she said. “And what we saw this weekend proves that that is simply untrue.”
Following the ruling, Fischer said ICE began putting hundreds of people on buses, many to the RAICES intake center in San Antonio, where they’re being prepared to live with family members or sponsors in the U.S. until their immigration status is finalized.
Fischer said ICE sent her organization more than 450 immigrants over the weekend, and she believes that thousands more will be released in the coming weeks.
“We are only assuming that these massive releases will continue,” she added. “Everything that we have learned about the larger situation, other than when a bus is coming and the number of people around it, we have heard from reading it in the media.”
Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, the group that challenged the family detention policy, said the win means families will no longer live in prison-like conditions awaiting their immigration hearings. However, he said the fight isn’t over.
“The state appealed yesterday, so this will continue to wind its way through the courts,” he said. “This is yet another step along the way, in hopefully ending the practice of detaining families altogether.”
Author – Mark Richardson, Public News Service (TX)
AUSTIN – Immigration and civil rights groups are asking a federal appeals court to block a Texas judge’s order to release personal information on thousands of undocumented immigrants.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the Justice Department to turn over personal data for about 50,000 people who received protection from deportation under an executive order issued by President Obama.
Karen Tumlin, legal director for the National Immigration Law Center, says the immigrants are being used as pawns in a partisan political dispute.
“With these outrageous demands, Judge Hanen has unfairly and unnecessarily dragged a group of blameless individuals into this politically-driven lawsuit,” says Tumlin. “Potentially compromising their privacy and safety with no legal justification.”
Hanen issued the order, ruling Justice Department lawyers misled the court during a lawsuit by Texas and other states to overturn the 2014 executive order that extended the immigration program.
Hanen earlier ruled against the president’s original 2012 order creating the program, and that decision is awaiting a Supreme Court ruling.
The filing was made on behalf of four undocumented immigrants, including two Texans, by the National Immigration Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union’s national and Texas offices.
One of the immigrants, Angelica Villalobos of Oklahoma, fears for the safety of her family if her personal information becomes public.
“It is one thing for me to share my name and my personal story to the public to improve the lives of my community and fight for what’s right,” she says. “It is an separate matter that personal information of me, my kids and my family to be shared with someone else against my will.”
The immigrants’ attorneys say they took the case directly to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals because of concerns that once the information is released, the damage would be done.
The Texas Attorney General’s office is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for an extra 30 days to respond to the Obama Administration’s appeal of lower court rulings that have blocked controversial changes in immigration enforcement.
The move could affect the timing of a final decision on the program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, which has been blocked for more than a year since the state of Texas filed suit to halt the program.
In February,U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville ruled that Obama violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act by establishing the program through an executive order.
The U.S Department of Justice on Friday officially asked the high court to review a Nov. 9 decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld Hanen’s decision.
The state’s request, if granted, would give the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton until Jan. 20, 2016 to respond to the White House’s filing. Advocates of the president’s program have already expressed concerns that a final determination by the high court could come as late as June, about six months before the president leaves office. It’s unclear what the timeline would be if the extension is granted.
The justice department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, but in Friday’s request the agency argues the case “warrants immediate review.”
In the state’s request for an extension, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller says the state has “numerous pressing deadlines in other cases” before the Supreme Court that were pending before the White House filed its petition.
Keller also argues that the White House could have asked the high court to take the matter up sooner.
“After the district court and court of appeals months ago denied petitioners’ motions to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal, petitioners declined to seek a stay from this Court,” he wrote.