Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Columns & Features > Guest Voz > Guest Voz: Facts don’t support political rhetoric scapegoating Latino immigrants for crime and lawlessness

Guest Voz: Facts don’t support political rhetoric scapegoating Latino immigrants for crime and lawlessness

By Arkady Bukh, Esq

(Editor’s Note:The following is an excerpt from the full article which can be found online

When he announced his candidacy for the American presidency, Donald Trump delivered remarks that have echoed across Mexico.

“They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They’re rapists,” Trump said.

While the rest of the candidates are finding their footing as they try to court the Latino vote, Trump managed to galvanize the disparate populations of Mexico, both social and political.

While the dustup over his comments may have hurt some of Trump’s business relationships, that don’t appear to have bruised him politically.

They may even have helped.

Trump has seen a bounce in the surveys, but whatever his chances of getting the White House, Trump seems to have tapped into a vein of resentment in America.

It is a traditional narrative that those who cross the border are doing so with nefarious intentions, the reality for most Latinos is more complicated.

The noncitizen group bundles both groups of immigrants. In any case, there are not “hundreds of thousands” of immigrants locked up in America’s prisons.

A 2011 GAO report shows that there were only 90,000 persons of illegal, or unknown, immigration status. Local jails reported about 204,000 for the same period.

The fact that so many immigrants are detained for immigration violations as opposed to committing a violent crime makes incarceration stats hard to review. The GAO study shows that immigration violations were the most frequent offense leading to detention – trailed in the far distance by drug and traffic violations.

Another good report of the latest research is in the May 2014 issue of Criminology and Public Policy. The report shows that there is a consensus among scholars that undocumented immigrants are not more likely to commit crimes than American citizens.

The Department of Justice recently released figures for the 2012-13 timeframe, Heather MacDonald, with the Manhattan Institute published a table of statistics based on the figures. For the first time, Hispanics have been treated as a separate category instead of lumping them in with white.

The report shows that during the period covered by the study, blacks committed an average of 486,000 violent crimes against whites while whites committed only 99,403 violent crimes against blacks.
There’s been a great deal of press given to black on black violence, but the latest figures indicate that just over 40% of the victims of black violence are black. People of other races account for almost 60% of the victims of black violence.

One in every 15 African-American males are in jail, and only one in 36 Hispanics males are incarcerated.


Representations of Latinos are found in America mass media, literature, theater and other creative expressions.

White Latinos, Asian Latinos, and Black Latinos are overlooked in the American mass media. American social perceptions, where being “Latino” is incorrectly given a racial value.
“Latino” is an ethnic grouping that is comprised of many races while, in turn, mixed-race and white American Latinos are overrepresented and admired in the US mass media.

Three Surprising Facts About Latinos

Latino Immigration Declined Under Obama’s Anti-immigration Policies

Partially because of US President Obama’s anti-immigration policies, Latino immigration has dramatically declined.

Obama’s executive action to keep illegal immigrants from being deported forced undocumented immigrants to prove to both be free of felonies and pay taxes.

Latino Family Values Show up in Vacations

67% of Latinos spend their vacations with their families. If one vacation isn’t enough, they take two. The survey showed that over 75% of Latinos take more than one vacation per year. Are they going to the Bahamas or Europe? No.

Of all the Latinos in America, over 60% returned to their homeland to enjoy family during vacation demonstrating how cultural roots have a more power role than many wish to admit.

Hate Crimes Against Latinos are on the Rise

Right behind blacks, Latinos constitute the most discriminated group in America.

In a US Department of Justice study, researchers found that in 2012, Latinos experienced a higher rate of hate crime than whites and blacks. Hate crime incidents against Latinos more than tripled in comparison to whites and slightly higher rate than blacks.

Crime Trends

Some studies have argued for smaller racial disparities in violent crime. However, a recent survey of government data found that the reduction in Black violent crime and White violent crime was a leftover from earlier studies, which counted Latino offenders as White. The Latino population has been increasing fast, and Latinos have violence rates higher than Whites, but lower than Blacks.


MYTH: Immigrants Harm the American Economy and Jobs
FACT: A report from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers issued a report on “Immigration’s Economic Impact.” The Council reasoned that immigrants not only help fuel the country’s economic growth but have a positive, overall effect on the economy.

Besides having an overall positive effect on the economy, an increase in immigrant workers tends to increase employment rates among the native-born. According to a Pew Hispanic Center study, there was a definite correlation between the increase in the foreign-born residents and the employment of native-born workers in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia.

MYTH: Immigrants Bring Crime to America
FACT: Immigrants are less likely to commit crime than their native-born counterparts.

According to recent studies by the US Department of Justice, immigrants maintain low crime rates.

While incarceration rates are highest among young low-income Latino men, the rates are lower than for their native-born counterparts.

Cities like Hazleton, Pennsylvania have attempted to accuse a new wave of immigrants for a perceived rise in crime. The city’s perception was wrong as Hazleton’s crime statistics shows that overall crime in the city declined and is now less than half of the nationwide average.

MYTH: Most immigrants are undocumented and are in America illegally
FACT: 66% of immigrants are in America lawfully. Even half of all undocumented immigrants entered America legally.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, a third of all immigrants are undocumented, a third have some form of legal status, and a third are naturalized citizens.

Roughly half of all undocumented immigrants entered the US on visas that allowed them to reside in the country temporarily as tourists, students or temporary workers.

Arkady Bukh, Esq is an internationally known criminal defense attorney based in New York City who established his law practice, Bukh & Assoiciates, PLLC, to protect the rights and interests of the minority and immigrant populations of New York.

Related posts