LatinaLista — If we are to believe those who preach that this nation is under a “brown invasion” and that every undocumented immigrant is a bone-chilling criminal, then we can agree that states like Arizona, that routinely register the highest number of illegal crossings, must literally be the Gates of Hell in being an access point where undocumented immigrants are streaming in and wreaking havoc on towns and communities.
If that was the case, then the crime rate for Arizona should resemble the days of the old West when gun-toting, stagecoach robbers ruled the tumbleweeded landscape.
After all, the Minute Men say it’s true, some Arizona lawmakers obviously believe it and, of course, the police. They’re the ones who have to keep the communities safe from these invaders and they know firsthand the dangers that they pose.
Mesa Police Chief George Gascon
So, it must be blasphemy to the ears of everyone mentioned when Mesa, Arizona’s police chief, George GascÃ³n, recently wrote a piece for the local newspaper saying that all these critics fanning the flames of anti-immigrant feelings are as full of hot air as the desert.
I often hear talk about the scourge of crimes by immigrants who are here illegally. In fact, I have heard how unauthorized immigrants are responsible for as much as 90 percent of the serious crime in Mesa.
The problem with this assertion is that it is not supported by the facts.
From there on, Chief Gascon compares the facts of the arguments to the accusations, guess which side always wins?
It is a point that those of us who believe in a fair and humane approach to creating a solution to the illegal immigration problem can’t make enough â€” that the statements being shouted out are meant to frighten and are extreme exaggerations of the real truth.
So, in another effort to set the record straight:
Undocumented immigrants aren’t as criminally inclined as they are portrayed to be.
Sure, there are some who are criminals. Just like there are Americans who are criminals â€” and I mean the worst kind of criminals â€” people who take lives, rape, rob and endanger other people with their actions.
But on a national scale, thankfully, the percentage of people, citizens or not, who do this kind of behavior is small. Otherwise, more than half of the population would be locked up if critics exaggerated as much for this element as they do with undocumented immigrants.
It doesn’t help that ordinary people/bloggers trying to set the record straight on misinformation about undocumented immigrants aren’t experts in the field dealing directly with the statistics. So, it’s incredibly important that professionals like Chief Gascon come forward to set the record straight.
If they are dismissed by the critics, it’s a sure sign that these critics aren’t interested in the truth, finding a solution or even the welfare of the country.
They’re in this debate for themselves.
As Chief Gascon said in closing:
Unquestionably, unauthorized immigration presents many problems nationally, and a thoughtful rational policy at the federal level must be developed to correct these problems. However, disproportionate criminality by people who are here illegally is not one of those problems.
Maximizing public safety in a community is a complex endeavor that requires public trust, thoughtful strategies and, above all, a clear understanding of the problems based on accurate information. In Mesa, we have done just that for the past 13 months, and the results have been very favorable.
Now, if we can only spread this message â€” loud and clear.