It is now universally acknowledged that Donald Trump's attempts to stigmatize Mexican - and by extension other nonwhite - immigrants as "criminals" "rapists" and "drug dealers" helped him win election to the White House in 2016. One of his first actions as president was to publish a weekly list of alleged crimes by immigrants, both legal and unauthorized immigrants.

But Trump soon gave this up as unproductive, which was not surprising in view of the fact that many of the (unproven) charges listed were for minor offences such as trespassing or petty theft. Instead, in his reelection campaign, Trump has focused more on vilifying his political opponents, including Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and most recently, the governor of Michigan, as "criminals" who should be "locked up" - according to the crowds that Trump is egging on at his quasi-fascist rallies.

Why has there been less emphasis on alleged "criminal" immigrants in this campaign than four years ago? For a very good reason. There is simply no evidence that crime rates among immigrants in general, or unauthorized immigrants in particular, are any higher than among Americans. To the contrary, whatever evidence there is indicates that crime rates among immigrants may even be lower.

Still, speculating on the level of immigrant crime rates still seems to be a popular media topic, as witnessed by articles on this subject that have appeared in Bloomberg News, the New York Times, and on the anti-immigrant group FAIR's website,within the past two years, to name just a few,

On March 4, 2019, Alex Nowrasteh of the highly respected, non-partisan Cato Institute ,wrote the following:

"It is difficult to know whether illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than native born Americans are..."

Significantly, he also writes:

"The Texas research is consistent with the finding that crime along the Mexican border is much lower than in the rest of the country." See:


Illegal immigrants and Crime - Assessing the Evidence

(Sorry, I do not have a link to this important article, please use Google to access.)

This finding is important because Trump has constantly pointed to the Mexican border has an alleged "high crime" area and has sought to use crime as a pretext for closing the border and denying essential human rights to asylum seekers, including children who are barely old enough to walk.

And this is the main point. To be sure, some immigrants, including immigrants who are in the US without legal status, do commit crimes, some of them serious, even though there is no evidence so far that they do so at a higher rate than American citizens.

But is immigrant crime the biggest problem facing America today as an election which Trump has attempted to invalidate as "rigged" before a single vote as been counted, and has refused to promise to abide by the results of, approaches? Are immigrant crime rates more urgent and important than Trump's attack on his own attorney general, William Barr, for refusing to prosecute and lock up Joe Biden and anyone else who stands in the way of Trump's drive for absolute power?

Is immigrant crime America's biggest problem today, as the US death toll from coronavirus which Trump has done so much to downplay, deceive about and deny, climbs toward the 300,000 mark? This would be 100 times as many deaths as took place in the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001.

Is immigrant crime the biggest problem facing America today, at a time when a US Supreme Court that Trump is stacking with his own appointees (along with the lower federal courts) has just agreed to review, and possibly approve Trump's inhuman "Remain in Mexico" asylum, policy, which has drawn international human rights condemnation to the point of even being called a Crime against Humanity?

The Trump-friendly Supreme Court majority has now also decided to consider the "legality" of two other Trump administration assaults on immigrant human rights which have also been blocked by the lower courts - namely Trump's method of funding his border wall of anti-immigrant hate, and his patently unconstitutional refusal to count unauthorized immigrants as "persons", i.e. human beings, for purposes of the US census. See, Washington Post, October 19:


Supreme Court to review Trump's border wall funding and 'Remain in Mexico' program


Which poses a bigger danger to America's survival as a democracy - concern over whether immigrants commit petty or serious crimes at the same rate as Americans or not, or Trump's assault on immigrants' human rights and the foundations of our democracy?

This is a question that Americans should be asking themselves as we go to the polls this year without being sure that our votes will actually be counted or that our nation's Chief Executive will agree to abide by the results.

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Roger Algase
Attorney at Law