Laken Riley’s murder highlights the media’s crime narrative failures

You may not be shocked to learn that the formerly mainstream media lies to you about illegal immigrants and crime.

The murder of Laken Riley spurred the debate again. Riley was a 22-year-old University of Georgia student who was brutally murdered last month allegedly by an illegal immigrant from Venezuela.

When private citizens or groups conduct studies, it’s only ever to prove what they want proven.

The media quickly jumped in with a familiar refrain, like this one from NPR, our publicly funded liberal mouthpiece: “Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than U.S.-born Americans, studies find.”

I’ve spent many hours poring through government crime statistics. The FBI literally has a building with thousands of employees, the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, dedicated to analyzing crime data. You can analyze crimes by perpetrators, victims, race, gender, age, LGBT status, type of weapon, time of day, and more. Virtually any bit of data except one.

No one in the entire U.S. government tracks the number of crimes committed by illegal aliens.

Odd, huh? They tally how many Pacific Islanders were arrested for drunk driving on Saturday mornings, but nothing about the legal status of a violent criminal. The truth is that it isn’t odd at all. It’s intentional ignorance.

In his first days as president, Donald Trump tried to fix that. He issued an executive order directing the secretary of Homeland Security and the attorney general to “collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports” on the “immigration status of all aliens incarcerated” in federal, state, and local detention centers.

The bureaucrats complied somewhat, letting us know that in federal facilities, illegal immigrants who were convicted for non-immigration charges composed about 15% of the prisoners. Comparing this to the Pew Research Institute estimate, in which illegal aliens compose about 3% of the country’s population, this five-fold number challenges the narrative that “they’re safer.”

At the state level, where the vast majority of criminals are prosecuted, we still have no idea. In response to the executive order, states handed over reams of documentation that combined all “noncitizens,” which can include legal foreigners living or visiting here. They even let some states, like New Mexico, ignore them completely. For what it’s worth, 18.8% of California’s prisoners are “noncitizens.”

To fill this information gap, the “experts” have ridden to the rescue and given us often comically horrible results.

Some of the studies are simply nonsense, and all of them have their own agenda. When private citizens or groups conduct studies, it’s only ever to prove what they want proven.

One of the main guys the media trot out when they want to show that illegal immigrants don’t commit more crimes is Alex Nowrasteh of the libertarian — and pro-illegal-immigration, pro-open-borders — Cato Institute. His study “found that the homicide conviction rate for illegal immigrants in Texas in 2015 was slightly lower than the rate among U.S. citizens.”

Except Texas’ crime data only tracks illegal immigrants who had already been caught and fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland Security. Last I checked, those coming illegally into the country weren’t exactly lining up to be fingerprinted and recorded. That leaves out a lot of illegal immigrants, and it’s hard to imagine he could have done that accidentally. (For the record, Nowrasteh now says he corrected his mistakes and that the numbers lead to the same conclusion. OK.)

Other studies led to this bizarre defense from the Washington Post:

A comparison of census and FBI data shows the U.S. rate of violent crime was cut by nearly half from 1990 to 2013, while the number of undocumented immigrants in the country tripled. Nevertheless, the idea that immigrants bring crime has taken hold.

Anyone who’s learned basic statistics knows correlation doesn’t equal causation. The amount of ice cream sold and the number of assaults that occur in this country both increase in summer. But buying ice cream doesn’t cause people to get assaulted. And the fact that illegal immigration increased while violent crime dropped doesn’t mean that one equals the other. Tough-on-crime mayors and governors, three-strikes laws, and a variety of other changes all happened in that same period.

Yet these nonsense arguments have been enough to hoodwink, willingly, I’d charge, nearly all the press corps. After all, it’s just one more piece of evidence that Donald Trump is a Horrible Person™.

To know definitively whether fewer illegal immigrants commit crimes per capita, we’d have to know how many illegal immigrants have committed crimes.

We don’t know that because our government is hiding it from us. And the press is a willing accomplice.

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