The El Paso Miracle

How can a comparatively poor, high-immigration town that sits across the border from super-violent Ciudad Juarez be one of the safest big cities in America?

By conventional wisdom, El Paso, Texas should be one of the scariest cities in America. In 2007, the city's poverty rate was a shade over 27 percent, more than twice the national average. Median household income was $35,600, well below the national average of $48,000. El Paso is three-quarters Hispanic, and more than a quarter of its residents are foreign-born. Given that it's nearly impossible for low-skilled immigrants to work in the United States legitimately, it's safe to say that a significant percentage of El Paso's foreign-born population is living here illegally.

El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country, mostly due to gun-friendly state law. And famously, El Paso sits just over the Rio Grande from one of the most violent cities in the western hemisphere, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, home to a staggering 2,500 homicides in the last 18 months alone. A city of illegal immigrants with easy access to guns, just across the river from a metropolis ripped apart by brutal drug war violence. Should be a bloodbath, right?

Here's the surprise: There were just 18 murders in El Paso last year, in a city of 736,000 people. To compare, Baltimore, with 637,000 residents, had 234 killings. In fact, since the beginning of 2008, there were nearly as many El Pasoans murdered while visiting Juarez (20) than there were murdered in their home town (23).

El Paso is among the safest big cities in America. For the better part of the last decade, only Honolulu has had a lower violent crime rate (El Paso slipped to third last year, behind New York). Men's Health magazine recently ranked El Paso the second "happiest" city in America, right after Laredo, Texas—another border town, where the Hispanic population is approaching 95 percent.

So how has this city of poor immigrants become such an anomaly? Actually, it may not be an anomaly at all. Many criminologists say El Paso isn't safe despite its high proportion of immigrants, it's safe because of them.

"If you want to find a safe city, first determine the size of the immigrant population," says Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. "If the immigrant community represents a large proportion of the population, you're likely in one of the country's safer cities. San Diego, Laredo, El Paso—these cities are teeming with immigrants, and they're some of the safest places in the country."

If you regularly listen to talk radio, or get your crime news from anti-immigration pundits, all of this may come as a surprise. But it's not to many of those who study crime for a living. As the national immigration debate heated up in 2007, dozens of academics who specialize in the issue sent a letter (pdf) to then President George W. Bush and congressional leaders with the following point:

Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that, in fact, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be behind bars than are the native-born. This is true for the nation as a whole, as well as for cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami, and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border such as San Diego and El Paso.


One of the signatories was Rubén G. Rumbaut, a sociologist who studies immigration at the University of California, Irvine. Rumbaut recently presented a paper on immigration and crime to a Washington, D.C. conference sponsored by the Police Foundation. Rumbaut writes via email, "The evidence points overwhelmingly to the same conclusion: Rates of crime and conviction for undocumented immigrants are far below those for the native born, and that is especially the case for violent crimes, including murder."

Opponents of illegal immigration usually do little more than cite andecdotes attempting to link illegal immigration to violent crime. When they do try to use statistics, they come up short. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), for example, has perpetuated the popular myth that illegal immigrants murder 12 Americans per day, and kill another 13 by driving drunk. King says his figures come from a Government Accountability Office study he requested, which found that about 27 percent of inmates in the federal prison system are non-citizens. Colorado Media Matters looked into King's claim, and found his methodology lacking. King appears to have conjured his talking point by simply multiplying the annual number of murders and DWI fatalities in America by 27 percent. Of course, the GAO report only looked at federal prisons, not the state prisons and local jails where most convicted murderers and DWI offenders are kept. The Bureau of Justice Statistics puts the number of non-citizens (including legal immigrants) in state, local, and federal prisons and jails at about 6.4 percent (pdf). Of course, even that doesn't mean that non-citizens account for 6.4 percent of murders and DWI fatalities, only 6.4 percent of the overall inmate population.

 

What's happening with Latinos is true of most immigrant groups throughout U.S. history. "Overall, immigrants have a stake in this country, and they recognize it," Northeastern University's Levin says. "They're really an exceptional sort of American. They come here having left their family and friends back home. They come at some cost to themselves in terms of security and social relationships. They are extremely success-oriented, and adjust very well to the competitive circumstances in the United States." Economists Kristin Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl argue that the very process of migration tends to select for people with a low potential for criminality.

Despite the high profile of polemicists such as Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage, America has been mostly welcoming to this latest immigration wave. You don't see "Latinos Need Not Apply" or "No Mexicans" signs posted on public buildings the way you did with the Italians and the Irish, two groups who actually were disproportionately likely to turn to crime. The implication makes sense: An immigrant group's propensity for criminality may be partly determined by how they're received in their new country.

"Look at Arab-Americans in the Midwest, especially in the Detroit area," Levin says. "The U.S. and Canada have traditionally been very willing to welcome and integrate them. They're a success story, with high average incomes and very little crime. That's not the case in Europe. Countries like France and Germany are openly hostile to Arabs. They marginalize them. And they've seen waves of crime and rioting."

El Paso may be a concentrated affirmation of that theory. In 2007 the Washington Post reported on city leaders' wariness of anti-immigration policies coming out of Washington. The city went to court (and lost) in an effort to prevent construction of the border fence within its boundaries, and local officials have resisted federal efforts to enlist local police for immigration enforcement, arguing that it would make illegals less likely to cooperate with police. "Most people in Washington really don't understand life on the border," El Paso Mayor John Cook told the Post. "They don't understand our philosophy here that the border joins us together, it doesn't separate us."

Other mayors could learn something from Cook. El Paso's embrace of its immigrants might be a big reason why the low-income border town has remained one of the safest places in the country.

Radley Balko is a senior editor of Reason magazine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Xeones||

    Preemptively shut the fuck up, LoneWacko and Dick Hoste.

  • Mandy66y||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, www.Bling6.com

  • ||

    How can a comparatively poor, high-immigration town that sits across the border from super-violent Ciudad Juarez be one of the safest big cities in America?

    Wizards.

  • bigot of a different sort||

    Catholicism -- that's the secret sauce . . . .

  • emerson||

    El Paso, huh? I spent a month there one night.

  • $20ForHeadDontCum||

    Cherry-picking data as usual. For every border city like El Paso there is a border city like Detroit. We could go back and forth all day.

    Of course when Reason's overlords see their plans come to fruition, EP and CJ will be combined into one giant metroplex held in place by multicultralism, and the differences in crime rate will wash out.

  • Xeones||

    For every border city like El Paso there is a border city like Detroit.

    Now you're racist against Canadians? Please reread my initial comment, and think about it for a while.

  • ||

    I don't have a problem with Mexicans, but I am racist against Canadians. FUCK CANADA!

  • Terry||

    Canadian is a nationality, not a race. Get your hatred right, eh.

  • bigot of a different sort||

    For every border city like El Paso there is a border city like Detroit.

    You just can trust those fucking Canadians.

  • ||

    Take off, Hoser! That should be "You just can trust those fucking Canadians, eh?"

  • ||

    Zounds - way to hang the cape on the bull's horns, Radley. (As a matter of principle and incitement - especially incitement - all metaphors on this thread should have a Hispanic inflection.)

  • The Angry Optimist||

    what's the deal with Chris Kelly's new moniker? Did a Latina hooker on Sunset Blvd rip you off, Chris?

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Here's a tip for "$20ForHeadDontCum": get some legal advice. I note also that a couple similar comments posted on other sites were from IPs based in Knoxville, including one apparently from the uni there. Other similar comments seem to bear the hallmarks of "joe from Lowell".

    P.S. Anyone know who Craig Hood is, or know whether Allegro Medical has multiple employees? Someone using one of that company's IPs posted a smear about me a while back but he didn't return my emails.

  • ||

    Got to be an L-Dub spoofer. The real LoneWacko would never link to Simpsons quotes.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Here's some actual "legal" advice for those of you spoofing Lonewacko: it's totally legal.

    And shut the fuck up, Chris Kelly.

  • $20ForHeadDontCum||

    I warn you, 24AheadDotCom, I will not tolerate this spoofing. The real me would never be so foolish as to ask this crowd for help locating an enemy.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Whoa! LoneWacko spoofers? Doing battle on the tubez?

    INTERNETZ FLAME WARZ!!!!!!

  • Xeones||

    Aha! Here comes tha rizzeal ChrisKelly, all making LegalThreats up in this InterNet!

    Please sue joe from Lowell, Chris. That would make my decade.

  • Naga Sadow||

    I have here indisputable evidence that Chris Kelly aka "LoneWacko" aka "24ahead.com" is actually of Mexican descent! Link

  • Xeones||

    The real LoneWacko would never link to Simpsons quotes.

    Yeah, but nobody in their right mind clicks LoneWacko's links anyway. It was a cunning plan.

  • ||

    The Spooners were a punning clan.

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, Naga. Dick.

  • Xeones||

    Naga, i should note that i didn't fall for it this time, lest you think your trap worked.

  • Naga Sadow||

    You sadden me, Xeones.

    *sigh*

  • ||

    Xeones,

    Hush up, or he's going to make your real name the #1 hit on the Internet.

    Which is odd considering that he can't do it for himself. In fact, I couldn't find a mention of Kelly or Lonewacko in the first 100 results when I google "dumbass racist fuck."

  • Naga Sadow||

    SugarFree,

    Perhaps a new entry on your blog for LoneWacko?

  • ||

    Naga,

    I'm keeping that Lonewacko free. He disgusts me, and you should know how hard that is to do.

  • Paul||

    Men's Health magazine recently ranked El Paso the second "happiest" city in America,

    Using what metric? I grew up near the El Paso area-- and I weren't none too happy about it.

  • EoT||

    Men's Health magazine recently ranked El Paso the second "happiest" city in America,

    Using what metric? I grew up near the El Paso area-- and I weren't none too happy about it.


    Latinos are happier on average than the rest of Americans, especially Mexicans. Mexico usually rates higher than USA on measures of subjective well-being. Its cultural.

  • ||

    Happiness is way overrated.

  • Retail Girl||

    "Link"

    Well that sucked.

    Asshole.

  • </a||

    Using what metric? I grew up near the El Paso area-- and I weren't none too happy about it.

    Look, finding the line of bullshit in a Reason article about immigration is like find the words in an anagram puzzle in your morning newspaper - you know it's in there, the only question is whether you want to waste the time trying to find it.

    Exactly what use are cosmotarians anyway? We already have two parties givings us what we don't want and trying to tell us it's freedom. You're redundant before you even get started.

  • ||

    I live in the Detroit area. It's true, the crime rate is pretty bad. It is due neither to Mexican immigrants (of whom we have quite a few, with great restaurants), nor to Canadians. It's not due to Albanian, Iraqi or Hmong immigrants either (we've got lots of those too).

    It's due primarily to native Detroiters. So the comparison above is quite irrelevant. Can't blame the immigrants, legal or illegal, for Detroit's troubles.

  • ||

    How can it be spoofing if you use a different name?

  • ||

    I read an article years ago that attributed El Paso's tranquility to some mineral ocurring naturally in the water supply that mellowed everyone out.

    As far as I know this theory is refuted by the stats for Juarez, unless aquifers somehow know where national borders are.

    Now if it were true think what a world it would be if we added the mineral to water supplies in every city. I mean, after all, we add fluoride for the children's teeth. (kidding)

  • ||

    It's the Paxilon hydrochlorate.

  • Joe||

    Perhaps before we jump to pro-imigrant conclusions we should discuss the chemical content of the water in El Paso.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,905404,00.html

  • ||

    Being poor is not the caused of violence.

    That's not what those race baitors such as Jessi and Jackson say. Just look Detroit or where most ghettos are.

    Lax gun rules also help because people can defend themselves of idiots. But liberal retards also say otherwise.

  • ||

    One thing about Mexicans, they work their arses off. I lived in downtown Dallas for 4 years and now live in Oak Cliff (very Mexican part of Dallas) and I've only been pan handled by a hispanics maybe three times in all those years. Every Mexican/hispanic/latino(a) I've ever known had a very strong work ethic, my newly-wed wife is Mexican and her, and her family, all have been working since legally possible.

    (i'm a standard issue white guy so i'm not just singing the praise of my race)

  • ||

    Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, isn't it possible that the crime rate is way low because illegals are afraid they'll be deported if they're caught? And if that's the case, wouldn't lax immigration laws (i.e. giving them legal status) actually INCREASE crime there?

    I'm guessing that's not actually the case. My first thought is that El Paso has low crime rates because the Mexicans who hop the border are 1.) better off economically; and 2.) likely moving to El Paso to escape the violence of CJ. I was just hoping for a little more substance out of the article than just "El Paso has low crime; El Paso has lots of immigrants; q.e.d. immigrants are less likely to commit crimes" and the contrarian in me feels compelled to point out this alternate explanation.

  • Trombone||

    So is this article saying that we should not grant illegal immigrants amnesty because it would raise crime in cities such as El Paso who have a high populaton of immigration?

  • ||

    Every Mexican/hispanic/latino(a) I've ever known had a very strong work ethic, my newly-wed wife is Mexican and her, and her family, all have been working since legally possible.

    No disagreement here. As somebody who grew up in a largely-Hispanic urban neighborhood, the problems I observed weren't the immigrants but their first-generation American kids who weren't really supervised precisely because their parents were out busting their asses all day. Of course, that's not unique to immigrants (I observed the same thing from upper-middle-class white kids when we moved to the suburbs; the only difference was their parents had the connections and money to bail out their asses when they got in trouble).

  • Steve S||

    This is a nice data point, however, I would like to see more data. In general, is a high proportion of illegal immigrants in an area correlated with violent crime? If there is a correlation, which way does it run?

    A further question: if some correlation is known, would that alter anybody's view of immigration? Most libertarians I know are open-borders people for deontological reasons, not utilitarian reasons.

    Ok, I've said my piece, now I am going to sit back and let the data roll in.

  • Warty||

    I can't believe I missed the Lonewacko upshutting the fuck party. Fuck.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I lived in Las Cruces for a piece. Folks are nice, food's good*, and I like desserts so the climate suited me.

    Anyway, the brown folks are likely to have deep roots there, while the white folk are often newcomers to that part of the world. Even on the US side of the border.

    But there is damn all to do 'round there. I was poor and busting my ass, so I never had time to go nuts about it, but all the recreation to be had involved either hiking in the sun or getting shitfaced. Often both.

    As for culture: the occasional recital after a Masters Class at the university's school of music were the only events that merited a tie. Even a string tie.

    It convinced me that I prefer to be withing striking distance of a big city, even if I want to live with some space around me.




    [*] You can order a canadian bacon, pineapple, and green chile pizza. Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.

  • Zeb||

    ClubMedSux,
    I think that the fact that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes was one of the bits of data used to support the conclusion that El Paso is not an anomaly. It was not the conclusion of the article.

  • ||

    Joe | July 6, 2009, 2:05pm | #

    Perhaps before we jump to pro-imigrant conclusions we should discuss the chemical content of the water in El Paso.



    So it is the water. Or, at least the lithium in the water. See my post at 1:54pm.

    Why do I have the impression that some people show up at H&R and post without ever reading any of the previous comments? NTTAWWT

  • ||

    Oh, I forgot thanks for the link to the Time article. I though the one I'd seen was more rercent than 1971.

    But since I couldn't even remember the chemical, who knows?

  • phalkor||

    i'm a standard issue white guy so i'm not just singing the praise of my race

    Yeah? But isn't that mostly because you aren't allowed to do that? White pride is considered by many to be terribly offensive.

    first-generation American kids who weren't really supervised

    Damn teenagers! Where kids more supervised in the past? Really?

    One thing I agree with is that is incredibly stupid to ask El Paso police to play immigration official. In places like Detroit and Baltimore I doubt the ghetto-denizens believe the police are truly out there to protect them. I'd be willing to bet there is a better relationship in El Paso.

    Also, off topic: is it really a felony to make homemade fireworks? That seems a bit heavy-handed.

  • ||

    How would you explain Bakersfield CA? There are different social groups within the Mexican immigrants. I know some who embrace our system and strive to create a better life here. But too many are uneducated, live 2-3 families in filthy small houses, work under the table, as for native born, these women are baby factories on welfare, different men, and the babies are native born to grow up to be gangmembers. They learn quickly how to use the system and use a barter system. A prime example is the illegal, deals in drugs, makes money, is successful, converts to legal businessman using illegal money, gives back to Hispanics and becomes civic leader respected by all.

  • Colin||

    Radley,

    I'd love to see a bloggingheads with you and Krikorian going at it.

  • heart_naomi||

    deals in drugs, makes money, is successful, converts to legal businessman using illegal money, gives back to Hispanics and becomes civic leader respected by all

    you just described my ex-boyfriend's career path! except the "gives back" part and he'll be shot before you could call him a "civic leader". but hey! live the dream!

  • Brett Stevens||

    Most of these high-immigrant cities are also stabilized by large populations and relatively isolated, so there's no point to crime -- you'd get caught right away.

    Let's analyze the presence of illegal immigrants in the bigger cities, like Houston and San Antonio, and see what the issue is there.

  • Richard Hoste http://hbdbooks.||

    Nice way to argue, Balko. Ignore Hispanics across the entire country and focus on first generation immigrants in one city. Knock down King's findings but ignore more concrete and reliable evidence of Hispanic criminality. You don't even try to show that Hispanics aren't significantly more criminal than whites.

    Hispanics were 3.3 times more likely to be in prison than whites, and twice as likely to be in jail.(22) There were 267,000 criminal aliens in all prisons and jails in 2003, about three quarters of whom were Hispanic.(23) Three point nine percent of Hispanic men aged 25-29 are in prison or jail, vs. 1.7 percent of whites (11.9 percent of black men of this age are incarcerated).(24)

    Balko writes

    "Look at Arab-Americans in the Midwest, especially in the Detroit area," Levin says. "The U.S. and Canada have traditionally been very willing to welcome and integrate them. They're a success story, with high average incomes and very little crime. That's not the case in Europe. Countries like France and Germany are openly hostile to Arabs. They marginalize them. And they've seen waves of crime and rioting."

    The question isn't whether you're nice to immigrants or not. Jews have succeeded despite intense hostility throughout history. Arabs in America and Canada are a small, selected bunch while the European rabble is more representative of the general population.

  • ||

    I like desserts so the climate suited me

    What's weather got to do with pie? :)

  • Mister DNA||

    In spite of being a safe city, El Paso suffers from being, well, El Paso.

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, Dick Hoste.

  • ||

    Shorter Richard Hoste, so many negroes, so few trees.

    It's rare to get a true racist at hit and run. We should welcome the diversity.

    Don't want to become an echo chamber.

  • ||

    My sister is moving to El Paso, so I will at some point experience it first hand. Is there anything to do there? I didn't realize it was pretty sizeable.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Richard, suppose the United States were setting up a screening process for likely criminality among immigrants. Why would we choose whether the person is Hispanic or not as one of the criteria -- it seems to be a weak indicator of criminal tendencies and we know from practical experience that the term "Hispanic" encompasses a wide variety of cultures and individuals. Why, for example, if your only concern is finding demographic groups that indicate likely criminality, and you aren't concerned with race, aren't you proposing to screen out all teenage males and allow in all females and old people no matter what their country of origin?

  • ||

    And what about Phoenix? I hear there is a lot of Mexican gang turf battling going on.

  • Paul||

    My sister is moving to El Paso, so I will at some point experience it first hand. Is there anything to do there? I didn't realize it was pretty sizeable.

    Not much, unless you're one of those people that can find fun anywhere, and I mean anywhere. Yeah, it's sizeable in land area. I remember when I lived in that area that they were annexing everything. You'd see a sign "entering to El Paso" a good thirty minutes before you were actually within sight of anything the rest of the nation would even lightly refer to as "civilization".

    Don't go downtown... no one goes there, nothing to do there. They do have a dog racing track at Sunland Park. It's in the desert... terrain very similar to that of Mars or the Moon, except not as inviting.

    When driving on I10, look south and you'll see a real third world shantytown across the river. Like in the movies shanty town. I never realized just how shanty town (growing up there and all) until I got older and started talking to people who lived elsewhere in the country and reacted to the shantytownness of it all. Sometimes a little outside perspective is good for... perspective.

  • ||

    I watched the Gangland show in Nat Geo channel showing how gangs like Barria Azteca operate in El Paso. All the gangbangers said anytime they want to kill someone, they just lure them to Juarez, kill them without fear of law enforcement, then come back to El Paso. Maybe crime in El Paso is so low because all the bad guys do their bad things in Juarez.

  • ||

    Richard Hoste, the article is about how immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than natives, not that race A is more likely to commit crimes than race B. Immigrants come here to work, not commit crimes.

  • Paul||

    Maybe crime in El Paso is so low because all the bad guys do their bad things in Juarez.

    That crossed my mind, too.

  • ||

    "Countries like France and Germany are openly hostile to Arabs. They marginalize them. And they've seen waves of crime and rioting."

    As someone who has lived in Germany for two years, I'd like to see what information he used to throw Germany into the same pot as France. There are, of course, bad neighborhoods that tend to be filled with Turks, but the French are an order of magnitude worse when it comes to marginalisation and systemic discrimination. And "waves of crime and rioting" is a much more fitting description of France than Germany.

    Most riots here are on 1st May in either Kreuzberg or Hamburg (mostly leftists and police, some Turks); now and then there are football-related ones or right-wing demonstrations that end up with violence against the counter-protest (AntiFa is not particularly Turkish either).

  • ||

    Jason Riley wrote in "Let Them In":

    "In 1980 the incarceration rate of foreign nationals was about one percentage point below natives; in 1990, it was a little more than one percentage point lower; and in 2000, it was almost three percentage points lower. Which means that talk of an immigrant 'crime wave' was unsubstantiated by the facts thirty years ago, and it's even less true today."

  • T||

    My sister is moving to El Paso, so I will at some point experience it first hand. Is there anything to do there? I didn't realize it was pretty sizeable.

    As a young GI stationed at Ft. Bliss, I used to ask this question of the natives. I got alphabetized listings of bars and nightly summaries of drink specials. My liver is permanently scarred from almost 4 years there.

  • Richard Hoste http://hbdbooks.||

    Richard Hoste, the article is about how immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than natives, not that race A is more likely to commit crimes than race B. Immigrants come here to work, not commit crimes.

    Immigrants have children who commit crimes. So immigration at this point in time means more HIspanics and more Hispanics means more crime. Immigration = crime, unless you can show that Hispanics aren't criminally prone or that a large percentage of immigrants aren't Hispanics.

  • ||

    Richard, suppose the United States were setting up a screening process for likely criminality among immigrants. Why would we choose whether the person is Hispanic or not as one of the criteria -- it seems to be a weak indicator of criminal tendencies and we know from practical experience that the term "Hispanic" encompasses a wide variety of cultures and individuals. Why, for example, if your only concern is finding demographic groups that indicate likely criminality, and you aren't concerned with race, aren't you proposing to screen out all teenage males and allow in all females and old people no matter what their country of origin?

    Who said that that was my only concern? That's the topic of this particular thread. I care about everything from the voting patterns of the newcomers to the inherent benefits of homogeneity.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Shorter Richard Hoste: rabble rabble racist assumption rabble rabble moan moan

  • Warmongering Lunatic||

    Sociologically, El Paso is best understood not as a U.S. city with a high poverty rate, but as a relatively wealthy Mexican suburb separated from the main city (Juarez) by a moat with armed guards on the bridges.

  • ||

    Richard Hoste

    So how do you propose the USA accomplishes these goals of yours?

    I have resisted the temptation to ask leading questions.

    I want to know your ideas, not your responses or reactions to what I might think your ideas are.

  • Obbop||

    Peek at Salinas, California and many of the towns and cities in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.

    Plenty of crimes committed by illegals. Lots of gang activity with many gangs chock-full of illegals.

    Live and work in those areas, be an Anglo male, and revel in an invading culture of machismo that ridicules education and those seeking education along with constantly attempting to intimidate others so as to prove the Chicano manliness by instilling fear in others, with Anglo males a favorite target.

    Of course, when a pack of vatos confront one Anglo it is easy to intimidate.

    Looking at statistics is one thing, especially when the looker is safe within their cubicle and do not have to live and work amidst the invading horde.

    I grew up amongst the invaders and lived and worked among them for decades in my adult years until the horrid social and economic conditions created by millions of illegals made me a refugee within my own country.

    Fleeing to the middle portion of the USA I saw an immense growth in the illegal population in areas where they were once rare.

    Wealth can isolate and insulate you from the barbaric hordes.

    The lack of it can, if you are unlucky, convert your locale to what resembles a 2nd-world country and culture.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    of machismo that ridicules education and those seeking education along with constantly attempting to intimidate others so as to prove...manliness

    Yes, this sort of thing is a shame, but you can get it domestic, not just imported.

  • ||

    "Richard Hoste http://hbdbooks.com | July 6, 2009, 3:19pm | #
    Hispanics were 3.3 times more likely to be in prison than whites, and twice as likely to be in jail.(22) There were 267,000 criminal aliens in all prisons and jails in 2003, about three quarters of whom were Hispanic.(23) Three point nine percent of Hispanic men aged 25-29 are in prison or jail, vs. 1.7 percent of whites (11.9 percent of black men of this age are incarcerated).(24)"


    I'm just glad I'm a middle aged white guy that all the Richard Hoste five-0 types ignore.

  • ||

    I've been to the Salinas area as well as many different towns and cities in between Sacramento and L.A. chasing loads of produce to bring to Florida. I've seen lot's of hispanics sweatin their asses of in the fields to earn a few bucks and freezin their asses off in the coolers loading my truck. Always workin damned hard. I've spent a lot of nights in some seemingly poor neighboorhoods with no problems.

  • ||

    Crap. I forgot to give props to the guy in Guadalupe with the roach coach that didn't know more than a half a dozen words of english. Best. Food. Ever.

  • Federale||

    The obvious answer is that Philly has a much larger black population than El Paso. Violence in the black community is much higher.

  • The Angry Optimist||


    Looking at statistics is one thing, especially when the looker is safe within their cubicle and do not have to live and work amidst the invading horde.



    In other words, you have a wealth of racist assumptions and anecdotes that somehow "combat" the science of it all. Damn those statistics, the BrownHorde is invading!

  • Mike||

    Is pointing out that some ethnic groups commit proportionately more crimes than another racist? If it is, than the word "racist" doesn't have much meaning.

  • douglas gray||

    It sounds racist, but it's largely due to the lack of blacks, and the absence of criminal gangs in El Paso. Everyone knows but is afraid to mention the huge percentage of capital crimes committed by blacks, when you consider the percentage of the population they comprise.

  • johnl||

    Balko throws away Rep King's findings too quickly, and in so doing misses a real calamity. Two thirds of the people detained for immigration violations are USA citizens.

  • ||

    I think part of the problem is the sheer number of immigrants probably slows down assimilation, and makes problems seem bigger.

    For example, we went to the lake over the weekend, and in all of the bathrooms there was shit covered toilet paper on the stalls of the floor (a common problem). I guess in Mexico the plumbing is bad so this is a common practice. But whatever the reason it's still nasty.

    With lower numbers of immigrants I think it's easier for Mexicans to become Americans because they are less likly to be insulated in their own neighborhoods. I think it's also easier for society to handle the smaller numbers.

    For example, english leaners are a small problem when they are a couple of percent of the school, but when they are the majority it makes things more difficult.

    And to head off the normal comments (he's a racist bullshit) whenever anyone says anything critical,

    my wife is indian, and my nephew half Mexican. It's not the race that is a problem, it's the difficulties with this many immigrants in assimilating.

    Let the bullshit respsonses begin :P

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Yes, this sort of thing is a shame, but you can get it domestic, not just imported.

    Of course you can get it domestic. I can also get a headache without hitting myself over the head with a hammer. That does not imply an endorsement for hitting oneself over the head with a hammer.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Is pointing out that some ethnic groups commit proportionately more crimes than another racist? If it is, than the word "racist" doesn't have much meaning.



    you can say it all you want, but given that it does not nor should it not have any policy considerations, one has to wonder what your motivations are.

    I notice that all of the racists never mention anything about detaining or exiling men in general, despite the overwhelming statistics about men and crime. So what gives?

  • ||

    TAO, geeez dude, you take the fun outta everything.

  • Craig||

    You can analyze this romantically:

    "Overall, immigrants have a stake in this country, and they recognize it..." They're really an exceptional sort of American. They come here having left their family and friends back home. They come at some cost to themselves in terms of security and social relationships. They are extremely success-oriented, and adjust very well to the competitive circumstances in the United States." ...the very process of migration tends to select for people with a low potential for criminality.

    Or logically:

    People here illegally want to keep a low profile so as to avoid deportation. Hence, they tend not to commit crimes that might increase their chances of getting noticed by the authorities.

  • </a||

    you can say it all you want, but given that it does not nor should it not have any policy considerations, one has to wonder what your motivations are.

    You're saying that quantifiable facts shouldn't have any influence on policy? You have an excellent future as a congressman ahead of you.

  • Craig||

    El Paso is the 21st largest city in the US (by population.) Texas now has 6 of the 21 largest US cities:

    4 - Houston
    7 - San Antonio
    8 - Dallas
    15 - Austin
    17 - Ft. Worth
    21 - El Paso

    Amazing what low taxes can do for immigration (from within the US.)

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Everyone knows but is afraid to mention the huge percentage of capital crimes committed by blacks, when you consider the percentage of the population they comprise.


    Why should we be afraid to mention that?

  • johnl||

    There is a little bit of tripping over qualifiers in
    """
    El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country
    """
    El Paso isn't a non-Texan big city.

  • ||

    Oh, dear, nearly five hours later I find I am waiting for a reply to my 5:48pm request from Richard Hoste: viz,

    So how do you propose the USA accomplishes these goals of yours?

    I have resisted the temptation to ask leading questions.

    I want to know your ideas, not your responses or reactions to what I might think your ideas are.



    Ok now I will ask with all the leading questions.

    How do you propose the USA prevents people seeking better lives from coming here to achieve them short of genocide?

    Should we build a fence or a wall? All evidence suggests that the dirty greasers will simply find a way through or around it.

    Now as a civil engineer, my preference is to construct a fifty mile wide sea level canal along the border. Now, of course, all those scummy legal types will insist that there is private property on both sides of the border, but men of great vision such as you and myself will never be deterred by trifles like due process and individual rights.

    After all, think of the stimulus. Idle law school graduates will be able to spend their time writing legal instruments, engineers and draftsman will be mobilized drawing plans.

    Heavens, unemployment will be ended.

    And the end result, a conduit for travel between the oceans such that we have never seen.

  • ||

    So sad, I thought Dick Head...er Hoste...might be a man of great vision like myself.

    Sad isn't it?

  • ||

    And all you "all those scummy legal types" here at Hit and Run, do I have to name you?

    You and your technicalities, like "due process" and "constitutional authority".

    All of you are nothing in the face of men of great vision like Dick Head...er Hoste...and myself.

  • ||

    "After all, think of the stimulus. Idle law school graduates will be able to spend their time writing legal instruments, engineers and draftsman will be mobilized drawing plans."

    And good white American Union labor will collect wages far above market levels.

    And the national debt will expand, but it doesn't matter because we owe it to ourselves.

  • ||

    People here illegally want to keep a low profile so as to avoid deportation. Hence, they tend not to commit crimes that might increase their chances of getting noticed by the authorities.

    Indeed, since people here illegally are already outlaws, they actually are more likely to commit crimes than people who would be here legally under an immigration regime where commiting a crime got you deported.

    In other words, given an open immigration system where anyone who was not a threat got a visa and people who commit crimes are prima facie considered threats, people who got visas would be quite unlikely to commit crimes.

    Criminal immigrants couldn't even hide behind the notion that society looks the other way for minor offenses because their labor is so prized. Under open borders, commodity immigrant labor would be replaceable, so neither empoyers nor communities need suffer criminal immigrants.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Maybe crime in El Paso is so low because all the bad guys do their bad things in Juarez.

    Having seen El Paso and Juarez with my own eyes, that sounds about right.

  • Polymath Jake||

    Given that it's nearly impossible for low-skilled immigrants to work in the United States legitimately, it's safe to say that a significant percentage of El Paso's foreign-born population is living here illegally.

    Assuming that a significant amount of these foreign-born immigrants in El Paso are there illegally, wouldn't it make the most sense to think that they are on their best behavior because, say, something as silly as throwing a punch in a bar fight might earn them a one-way ticket straight back to, say, Ciudad Juarez?

    I think this is a far more motivating factor to be a good human and is a far more realistic explanation than "inherent immigrant industriousness" or whatnot.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I care about everything from the voting patterns of the newcomers to the inherent benefits of homogeneity.

    The inherent benefits of homogeneity? I think I get the picture. You wish everything about American society were like eating Jello salad with little bits of marshmallow and canned peaches in it.

    No thank you. I grew up Lutheran. I love Jello salad as much as the next guy, but I ain't giving up my Taqueria Dos Hermanos and my Falafel Drive-In.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Is pointing out that some ethnic groups commit proportionately more crimes than another racist?

    Not necessarily, but when debating about policy governing immigration into our country, founded on principles of individual freedom, it needs to be established:

    (a) why we would scrutinize individual candidates demographically (by race, country of origin, income level, whatever categorization one might propose) instead of looking at his or her individual references, background check, sponsors, etc.

    (b) if we have established that it isn't feasible to look at immigrants as individuals, it needs to be shown how impartial reasoning would arrive at race as the best, or even a good, demographic indicator of likely criminality.

    A case for race in (b) just can't be made, since sex and age are much stronger demographic indicators of likely criminality. Anybody who persists in claiming we need to screen out all immigrants of this or that race because they are more prone to criminality is clearly motivated by racism.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Indeed, since people here illegally are already outlaws, they actually are more likely to commit crimes than people who would be here legally under an immigration regime where commiting a crime got you deported.

    Both sids of this argument are silly. It's all arm-chair reasoning about what might be going through the mind of an illegal immigrant about to commit a crime. Who knows whether illegal status is likely to tip more towards or away from committing crimes, or doesn't have much influence at all.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    You're saying that quantifiable facts shouldn't have any influence on policy?

    I'm saying that these facts are irrelevant to policy, as they should be. Or, oh hey, #, can you think of a policy that would take these numbers into account that would not be overinclusive? And, again, why am I hearing nothing from you about denying citizenship and visas to all men who try to come here?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    The Angry Optimist | July 6, 2009, 8:00pm | #

    Mike Laursen | July 7, 2009, 1:14am | #



    Well said.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    That does not imply an endorsement for hitting oneself over the head with a hammer.

    You could ask yourself if this sociological observation actually has any pattern or relationship with immigration status at all.

  • ||

    El Paso is safe due to the high lithium rate in the water. This keeps those people chilled out!

  • ||

    Radley "assumed" there was/is a large illegal population in El Paso.

    I live in Del Rio, Tx. I can see Mexico from my front porch. We have very few illegals living in the area. We have a very large Border Patrol presence all across the border. When wet backs come over the border, they are not staying here. They are hauling ass to larger cities, inland, where they can disapear.

    Most of the immigrants in border towns are here legally, and spent many years and much money to become legal. They will also be some of the first to turn in illegals.

    We do have a cowboy mentality here and we carry guns. You don't perpetrate violent crimes when there is a good chance that your "victim" is better armed, and maybe meaner than you are.

  • Tsakashvili||

    "El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country"

    El Paso is in Texas, dumbass.

  • LarryA||

    I know some who embrace our system and strive to create a better life here.
    v.
    But too many are uneducated, live 2-3 families in filthy small houses, work under the table, as for native born, these women are baby factories on welfare, different men, and the babies are native born to grow up to be gangmembers. They learn quickly how to use the system and use a barter system. A prime example is the illegal, deals in drugs, makes money, is successful, converts to legal businessman using illegal money, gives back to Hispanics and becomes civic leader respected by all.

    Given the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs, the second group you cite is just as much "embracing our system" as the first. Why are you criticizing them for playing the system using the rules our government wrote?

    Most of these high-immigrant cities are also stabilized by large populations and relatively isolated, so there's no point to crime -- you'd get caught right away.

    That's certainly not true in El Paso, given that you can stroll across the border to Mexico and escape U.S. law enforcement.

    People here illegally want to keep a low profile so as to avoid deportation. Hence, they tend not to commit crimes that might increase their chances of getting noticed by the authorities.

    So people here illegally are more rational than native-born? I.e. they don't want to be deported so they obey the law, where native-born commit crimes even though they risk going to prison? That speaks highly of the immigrants' self-control and deferral of gratification.

    El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country
    """
    El Paso isn't a non-Texan big city.


    Not saying it is. Given that Texas has a preemption law, all gun control is at the state level. Therefore El Paso has the same gun control laws as other Texas big cities, but less than most big cities outside Texas. Could have been worded clearer.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    As an European, I am quite aware about the tensions between Arabs and natives in the Western Europe, and I am afraid that Mr. Balko is ignorant about the issue.

    Quite a lot (probably over one half) of American Arabs are actually Melkite and Greek-Orthodox Christians, who have been gradually pushed out of Middle East by growing religious intolerance (ask any Christian Iraqi how does he like living with Islamist gangs). The Lebanese civil war has also pushed a lot of the educated middle class out of the country. You know, the guys and gals who studied on American University of Beirut, spoke English with Bostonian accent and wore Gucci to work.

    So, you received a stream of religiously compatible, educated and relatively rich immigrants. If you add absence of a spoiling welfare state to the mix, you have a good recipe for success.

    ENTER France, which imported several million Arabs from Algeria, the most lawless and violent country of Arab world. Algeria is infected with extreme religious fanaticism to such degree that a 15-year long civil war has been fought there recently, with Islamists slitting throats of people regularly and slaughtering whole villages (the estimated body count is 250 000 dead).

    ENTER Holland, which imported manual workers from the Rif mountains in Morocco. The Rif mountains are the most backward region of Morocco and the Moroccan king was quite happy to get rid of some of these tribal troublemakers. More of half of the imported workforce was functionally illiterate even in Arabic, and could not speak a word Dutch.

    Add the toxic welfare systems to the mix (althought these have been reformed to a large extent recently - precisely because of the widespread abuse and the fiscal strain that they put on the - and you will see that the difference is not only in "marginalization" or "racism". It may well be the other way round: the French marginalize "beurs" precisely because they have bad experience.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Algeria, the most lawless and violent country of Arab world.

    You lost all credibility right there.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Art: Feel free to correct me.

    Lawlessness and violence are not easily measured, though. So let us look at the Arab countries:

    Morocco: definitely a lawful country.
    Algeria: violent Islamist insurgency since 1992, the government has hard time controlling its own rural areas.
    Libya: a centralized dictatorship. Quite calm.
    Egypt: a centralized dictatorship, a tad better than Libya. Quite calm.
    Gaza: theocratic rule, definitely less chaotic than Algeria.
    West Bank: under Israeli control. Tense silence.
    Lebanon: de-facto separated into several sectarian enclaves, each under control of its own groups (Druze, Hezbollah). Tense silence, but not an outright explosion.
    Syria: a centralized dictatorship. Quite calm.
    Iraq: violent, but slowly improving. It seems that the insurgency will not take 15 years. So far, the only serious competition for Algeria for the title of the most violent and lawless country.
    Small Gulf States: stable and law-abiding.
    Saudi Arabia: stable and law-abiding.
    Oman and Yemen: here, I admit my ignorance. I do not know anything about these countries.

    There is a big question whether Sudan and Mauritania should be classified as Arab countries. If Sudan is, it is the third candidate for the title. But southern Sudan is not an Arab zone; it is black Africa.

    So, for me, Algeria takes the prize, because of the longevity of the local insurgence. Even if you look at the patterns of foreign involvement in Iraq, Algerian suicide bombers go to detonate themselves in Iraq, but not vice versa.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Kechlibar...I consider Iraq to be worse, although I am biased. Also, mea culpa upon further reflection for considering the Algerians to be Berber as much or more so than Arab. I guess that's beside the point.

    Rather than having purely ethnic considerations for the Algerians, I was considering them as part of a North-African/Middle-Eastern/West Asian geographic area that includes places like Afghanistan and Somalia, and by comparison, Algeria really didn't seem all that bad to me.

    If it's worth anything to you, most of the immigrants I knew from war-torn areas in that part of the world weren't particularly violent, although I know immigration filters for that sort of thing.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    In July 2006, Iraq would seem to me an undisputed "winner". In July 2009, it seems more hopeful to me than Algeria.

    Your experience is consistent with basic logic. Most people who run from war zones are not particularly eager to replay their experience in a new country.

    Unfortunately, in the rest, there is a potential fifth column - of previous active combatants (if not outright terrorists) who moved away because the ground got "too hot" for them. It is Europe's problem that it accepted such people in the 90s as "asylants". That is how the Salafist group for preaching and combat established presence in France...

    As for the classical violent crime, the second generation of the immigrants seem to be more involved than the first.

    Oddly enough, I just read Nibras Kazimi's report from Baghdad. He praised development of an old Baghdad neighbourhood which used to be a no-go zone even under Saddam. When asked in the comments, he elaborated that this neighbourhood was inhabited mainly by Sudanese and Egyptian gastarbeiters, and that it was a notoriously violent place which the Iraqis shunned.

    So, these kind of problems are not Western-only.

  • ||

    "You don't see "Latinos Need Not Apply" or "No Mexicans" signs posted on public buildings the way you did with the Italians and the Irish..."

    Of course you don't genius, the ACLU would be all over it, not to mention there would be a huge lawsuit for discrimination.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    The reason some second-generation immigrants assimilate extremely well, and others fail pretty hard to do so are, I'm sure, typically fairly complex. Those are interesting points, Marian Kechlibar.

    Maybe I'm just wary of people making overly broad descriptions of immigrants, or other outsider groups, for that matter, but in some cases I suppose there is a pretty harsh culture shock when it comes to the immigrant experience in Europe.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    I believe that culture plays a big role.

    The Kosovars are about 0.5% of Europe's population, but it is estimated that they control 50-70% of the continent's heroin business.

    The Corsicans are a similarly small fraction of France's population, but their criminal networks are legendary.

    Ditto with Sicilians.

    On the other hand, nobody ever heard of ruthless Welsh mafia or Icelandic hitman syndicate.

  • Granite26||

    Wait... did that article seriously say that the crime rate for 'undocumented' immigrants is less than... any other group? Numerically impossible, because right or wrong 100% of 'undocumented' immigrants are criminals. 100%. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Anybody claiming differently is citing propaganda and should be discounted similarly.

    If you want to claim that they are less likely to be caught or arrested or even commit OTHER crimes, that's fine. Just don't pretend they aren't criminals and expect me to bob my head and play along

  • Mike Laursen||

    As an European, I am quite aware about the tensions between Arabs and natives in the Western Europe, and I am afraid that Mr. Balko is ignorant about the issue.

    Being from Europe, you may have missed the obvious. If we're talking about El Paso, Texas we're talking about crime rates among Mexican and other Latin immigrants. Not sure why you think it relevant to go into a detailed discourse on Arab immigrants.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Mike,

    if you look at the article, it actually has a paragraph comparing the integration of Arab communities in the USA and in Europe. I was reacting to that paragraph.

  • Richard Hoste http://hbdbooks.||

    The inherent benefits of homogeneity? I think I get the picture. You wish everything about American society were like eating Jello salad with little bits of marshmallow and canned peaches in it.

    No thank you. I grew up Lutheran. I love Jello salad as much as the next guy, but I ain't giving up my Taqueria Dos Hermanos and my Falafel Drive-In.


    You're right. You can't eat a falafel without an Arab next to you.

    I like diversity. I'd like a country where people can have blue eyes, green eyes, grey eyes, brown eyes, violet eyes, hazel eyes, or amber eyes and where people can have red hair, black hair, brown hair, blond hair, gray hair or auburn hair.

    Who exactly are the "people of color?"

  • ||

    As a former resident of El Paso (1969-1977) it's important to view the city's low crime rate historically and not just in the context of the current immigration debate. The city has a history of low crime that dates back decades.

    One thing not mentioned in the article is the Texas Tranquilizer. In 1971, a biochemist identified high levels of lithium in El Paso's well water supply.

    We can point to immigrant desire to make a better life as one possible reason El Paso is mellower but I suspect the weed and the water wins over immigrant ideology. Maybe it's just me.

  • Joe||

    There's no mention that for immigrants (legal or illegal), it's simple to cross back and forth over the border. Many murders that would have happened in El Paso definitely happen in Juarez. History Channel just had a show on the Barrios Azteca gang (excuse my mispelling) and the interviews with gang members talked about luring their victims to Juarez because they could literally get away with murder over there.

  • ||

    You've got to be kidding me. The links for "Irish" and "Italian" are to some wikipedia pages? How amateurish. Along with the argument that Irish and Italian immigrants experienced racism because they deserved it -- well, that's just extremely embarrassing content to find in Reason. But, somehow, not surprising. Some racism is just . . . superior to other racism.

    The story has serious problems. Federal statistics gathering does not consistently count the ethnicity of offenders: instead, the "Hispanic" category is often folded into race, and thus counted as "white." The same is not true of victim statistics, in which ethnicity is consistently a separate category. Interesting, that, and something that the criminologists quoted here know perfectly well to be the case. The other unexplored issue is the high crime rate in cities with large numbers of second-generation immigrants, such as L.A. This is part of the story, though it impedes the author's agenda and is thus passed over in silence.

    This is the most embarrassing, amateurish and offensive article I've read in some time.

  • ||

    The reason El Paso is safe is because there are over 1100 federal law enforcement officers stationed in the El Paso area (US Border Patrol Agents in El Paso proper, Fabens, Ysleta and Santa Teresa, NM, all in the greater El Paso area). Their mandate is to keep illegals out of El Paso. They are the reason the greater El Paso area is among the safest cities ine El PAso. In addition, El Paso has always been a waypoint to the illegal immigrant (read, they pass through El Paso and for the most part, do not settle in El Paso).

  • Mike Laursen||

    I care about ... the inherent benefits of homogeneity
    I like diversity.

    Please explain how you reconcile these two contradictory statements you have made.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Their mandate is to keep illegals out of El Paso.

    Please explain further. Your statement implies that El Paso has arranged that the Federal government stations border officers there not to keep illegal aliens out of the United States, but just to keep them out of El Paso.

  • KingHarvest||

    Anyone hear Lou Dobbs' interview of Radley? LD kept running around in circles, saying "I take a hard line against illegal immigration" followed by "I really admire and enjoy working with (?) illegal immigrants." Unfortunately, the ensuing paradox sort of consumed the interview and stifled any real discussion.

    Dobbs' masked attempt to provide a humanistic note on top of his closeted GOP views was incredibly dull.

    Interviewers who treat illegal immigration and the drug war as static, monolithic entities are hardly the channels to open debate.

    Good exposure, though, Radley!

  • ||

    "Along with the argument that Irish and Italian immigrants experienced racism because they deserved it -- well, that's just extremely embarrassing content to find in Reason."

    Heh. Mr. Balko clearly states, "An immigrant group's propensity for criminality may be partly determined by how they're received in their new country." It was the very next sentence.

    Talk about "embarrassing"...

  • ||

    My name is Josue Enriquez. i'm Chuco (el paso) borna and raised. i love this city with all my heart. everybody here is nice and treats you with respect. i always feel safe here and that being that i live in one of the poorest places in el paso. We leave alot of things outside our house that probably cost some money and it never gets stollen. people from other cities just feel unsafe here because they are not from here and they think what everybody else says is true. I think people should be more open to immigration since most immigrants here are also hard workers. Even i have family who is here illegaly and they just spend there time working day and night for a bull shit pay check to american standards. I also want to comment that the war accross the border should start being stoped by the United States Gov. since a lot of the criminals that comit the crimes in Juarez are American and sometimes from other countries. and weapons aren't crossing into the USA. they are actually crossing into mexico. 90% of the weapons being used in the cartel wars actually came from the USA. so any weapons that cross this way are actually just going back to where they were originally from

  • jacob||

    "Every Mexican/hispanic/latino(a) I've ever known had a very strong work ethic"

    Well, it seems like you've never met these folks:

    http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/back704.html

    http://www.nydailynews.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=46146


    On a related note, birds flying south makes it snow...

  • ||

    Regarding my comment and to respond to Mr. Laursen: My comments regarding El Paso, Texas and its safety, addresses specifically the effect of significant federal law enforcement in the community. Border Patrol officers, wherever they are on the border (including Canada), are mandated to keeping terrorists, weapons of mass destruction and illegal aliens out and locating and arresting those that succeed in entering the country illegally.

  • Bug||

    Something that surprises me is the number of outright bigots who read a pro-immigration magazine like Reason. There's some overlap between the libertarian bunch and the anti-immigration whackjobs, many of whom claim to be "libertarians".

  • not sure||

    Is it possible that El Paso's low crime rate is due to the illegals not reporting crime? Much violent crime happens between people who know each other, and if the crime is not being reported out of fear of repercussions due to the victim/911caller/perp being in El Paso illegally. The low murder rate may shoot a hole in my theory.

    I have no data, only thoughts.

  • ||

    Obbop: "Looking at statistics is one thing, especially when the looker is safe within their cubicle and do not have to live and work amidst the invading horde.

    I grew up amongst the invaders and lived and worked among them for decades in my adult years until the horrid social and economic conditions created by millions of illegals made me a refugee within my own country."

    Obbop..maybe you should look at history a bit more closely before you open your racist mouth! The Puritans, the Anglo-Saxons, your ancestors who came to this soil, who wanted to "practice religious freedom," were the "invading hordes" to this promised land. If that's the way you feel, "a refugee in your own country," maybe it's pay back time! Los Mexicanos, los Cubanos, los Puertoriqueños, los Venezolanos, los Españoles estan aqui para quedarse! Welcome to Atzlán, AMIGO!

  • ||

    What applies to America doesn't apply to Germany: About 10% of the German population consists of foreigners, whereas more than 20% of all crimes are committed by foreigners, mostly Turks.
    I don't want to say that Turks are generally more criminal than Germans, there are indeed a lot of Turkish entrepreneurs and hardworking Turks here, but especially young Turks are often extremely aggressive, uneducated, unemployed and criminal.

    The reason may be that immigrants come to the USA in order to work hard and earn a living, whereas German immigrants are lured by an all too generous welfare state.

  • ||

    What...Did Michael Moore write this mess??

    As a subscription holder and some time foundation contributor (no, really!!)I'm very disappointed in this piece.

    The violent Latino thugs in El Paso -mostly members of the Barrio Azteca gang- merely export their brutality a scant few block across the Rio Grande, where their odds of getting caught practically evaporate.

  • ||

    Look at the source cited by the 'Irish' Wikipedia page, and you'll find it says the opposite of what Balko claims.

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~rjensen/no-irish.htm

    'No one has ever seen one of these NINA signs because they were extremely rare or nonexistent.'

    'Newspaper ads for women sometimes did include NINA, but Irish women nevertheless dominated the market for domestics because they provided a reliable supply of an essential service. Newspaper ads for men with NINA were exceedingly rare. The slogan was commonplace in upper class London by 1820; in 1862 in London there was a song, "No Irish Need Apply," purportedly by a maid looking for work. The song reached America and was modified to depict a man recently arrived in America who sees a NINA ad and confronts and beats up the culprit. The song was an immediate hit, and is the source of the myth. Evidence from the job market shows no significant discrimination against the Irish--on the contrary, employers eagerly sought them out.'

    The Wikipedia page for Italians says nothing about such signs.

    I'm libertarian and pro-immigration, but I must say the evidence is strong that Balko is a hack.

  • DJ||

    Men's Health calling El Paso a happy place - now that's comedy. Did the reporters actually go there? Fascinating town, but it always seems to be in a bad mood. Maybe it's having to stare at the fresh hell that is CJ across the river every day.

    I wish the writer and people quoted in the story had been a little more curious -- another possible explanation for the low crime rate is the federal presence there, seeing as CJ is such a mess.

  • ||

    What about L.A.

  • John Rohan||

    The theory that immigrants cause fewer crimes than US born citizens has been rife with several fallacies. Radley Balko doesn't point to any one single study, but I discussed some of the problems with such studies in the past here:
    http://www.shieldofachilles.net/2008/02/immigration-and-crime-here-we-go-again.html

    But to summarize, here are the two main problems:

    1. Simple Math. US-born adults have spent far more years of their life, on average, in the USA than foreign-born adults. Ergo, they have had more time to rack up crimes and offenses here. If "Joe American" has lived in the United States for all of his 30 years, and "Jose Mexicano", also 30, arrived here only 3 years ago, then Joe has had roughly ten times as long to rack up a criminal record here. Granted, Joe was unlikely to commit many crimes while he was in diapers, but even if you only count the years after he could be tried as an adult (usually age 16) then he has had almost 5 times as long to add offenses to his criminal record. The only way to compare it fairly, would be to add into the equation any criminal offenses these foreign-born people have been convicted for before they entered the United States.

    2) The real issue legal vs. illegal immigrants, and people keep conflating the two. This is important, because legal immigrants get a criminal background check at some point in the naturalization process, depending on what method they are using. Someone who was convicted of a serious crime is not allowed to legally enter the country in the first place, creating a type of 'filter' to the data.

    3) Severity. If US citizens are mostly guilty of property crimes and foreign-born residents are disproportionately guilty of murders and/or DUIs, isn't that important to know? I can already confidently state that illegal immigrants are far more likely to commit identity theft than the average American. And fully 100% of them are guilty of entering the country illegally in the first place.

  • ||

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/07/14/mexico.violence/index.html

    Radley. Your magazine is named for a capacity you failed to exercise when you created this article.

    El Paso is a city with lots of cops but also where illegals keep a very low profile. They do all their killing, rapes, slavery etc in a place where they know they will face no consequences. Barrio Azteca told its men on the ground that they were to keep El Paso clean and relatively crime free or there would be severe penalties. You cannot move out of the world of drug dealer and into a business where you can launder your money if you do not exist in two worlds.

    Also are you aware that crime statistics do not track Hispanics at all? Hispanics as a victim class are tracked separately, but as perps they are lumped in with whites...Very strange.

    Not all libertarians believe that we should destroy our sovereign nation with open borders. If America had no free health care, no free schools and no one could come here and live without a job, then open borders would be great. Also if I had wings I would sell my car and cancel my insurance. Wake up!

  • ||

    I was born and raised there, but moved to Baltimore about 6 years ago. BIG freaking difference! We are definitely the friendliest, not just speaking for El Paso, but for all of Texas. One guy mentioned that perhaps the crime is low because illegals don't report it; actually dead people don;t need to be reported, they are found. If there is a dead body, it counts as a homicide. Duh.
    Baltimore really is bad and maybe it has something to do with the black population and the fact that they don't have the same aspirations as Hispanics or other immigrants of other nations.

  • ||

    The author is overlooking a simpler alternative explanation:

    Instead of the criminal or merely desperate illegals swimming in a sea of gringoes (the 'other') for easy pickings, an El Paso that is 3/4 hispanic simply means that they're among their own, with the marginally criminal much less likely to prey on fellow Latinos. IOW, they've already 'won'.

    You are arguably suggesting that the way to 'peace' is to simply give immigrants their own cities.

    Doesn't sound much like integration r assimilation to me.

  • ||

    If by citing these questionable El Paso crime stats, it is your hope to generate support for open borders among libertarians, you are unlikely to succeed. I am all for the free movement of capital and labor, but it should be obvious to you that no country can have both open immigration and a welfare state.

  • ||

    Exactly. And no matter what Libertarian minded people think, that Welfare state is going to persist at many levels for quite some time unfortunately.

  • ||

    1. Hispanics do have a higher crime rate, and that is relevant, El Paso notwithstanding. Look at LA for the opposite example in terms of crime and gang activity.

    2. Illegal immigrants consume government services far in excess of what their meager tax payments compensate for.

    3. I live in the Detroit Metro area, the Arabs/Muslims in Dearborn are not assimilating all that well in many cases. You drive through the area and most of the signage is in Arabic now. They are imposing their culture and customs on the area, not the other way around. There is also open antisemitism within that community (not everyone mind you) and several arrests have been made of certain individuals that have been connected with terrorist groups.

    On a net basis, open borders is not working. We should be evaluating who gets into this country based on OUR needs. Honestly, we do not have a shortage of relatively uneducated, low skilled labor. We do not have the jobs engine that we did in the past for these people. The result is going to be importing poverty and social problems into our country which is already happening.

    Our states and municipalities clearly lack the funds to expand schools and other public services to meet the demands of the new arrivals. We need to secure the border and STOP the influx.

  • ||

    I guess I would want to know how these border cities like Laredo, El Paso and San Diego stack up in terms of disappearances, as well as murders. El Paso was notorious for holes in the desert, just like Las Vegas in "Casino". Also, if all the dirty business of murdering and drug trafficking is headquartered across the border in one of the most violent cities in the western hemisphere, then it makes sense that crime would be low in El Paso. Bodies of individuals never counted in this country in the first place, then dumped outside of El Paso or Juarez, won't show up on anyone's violent crime statistic.

  • bfwebster||

    High amounts of natural lithium in the water supply. And I'm not joking -- I have a close friend (also in his 50s) who grew up in El Paso. He said that during the 60s and 70s, agitators came to down to organize the students at UTEP. The students' response was, "Whatever."

  • ||

    Unless things have really changed in the last 5 years, then property crimes are still off the scale. Especially against 'gringoes'. The fact that El Paso also has one of the highest populations of military and former military members in the US has nothing to do with it either, I'm sure.

  • ||

    Mr. Balko, I call bullshit on you and your article and I have paid for the right to do so in blood.

    My Father-in-Law was murdered by an illegal alien in McAllen, Texas, a border town. This illegal alien was piloting a vehicle at freeway speeds in a 35 MPH zone. Said alien and car ran a red light and t-boned my in-Law's car. Much as with Evel Knievel, it was a shorter list of bones in his body which were not crushed than were. He lingered in hell for over 72 hours before passing away of his injuries; there were really no drugs that took away all the pain.

    This illegal alien admitted to the first law enforcement on the scene she was under the influence of illegal narcotics. She had no valid license to drive the car, of course, and had no insurance as well. Oh, and having her then-four-year-old grandchild in the car - unbuckled - was a nice touch. God only knows how that child wasn't killed or seriously injured.

    So, for all the laws this woman broke one can imagine she would still be incarcerated in a prison for the rest of her natural life. Sorry, but this tale has no happy endings. Instead of placing her in custody, the 'law' gave her a ride home. From there, she vanished. No doubt she wasted no time in ducking back across the border into Mexico.

    Texas, I have been told, is a mandatory manslaughter state. As it was explained to me, if someone dies as a result of a traffic accident the District Attorney *MUST* file manslaughter charges on those who live and caused the accident. The District Attorney for McAllen, Texas has never filed these charges to our knowledge.

    So, Mr. Balko - I don't believe you for a minute. This is a crime my family paid for in blood, but there is no reported crime here as no charges were ever filed and it only ever saw print as an accident. Were it not for the copy of the accident report, there would be no record it even happened. The law of averages would have us believe this could not possibly be an isolated instance. There simply is no way this was a fluke, and from our perspective it looks suspiciously close to a cover up.

  • Roman||

    The comparison of US/Canada and European arabs is laughably primitive. First, it likely mixes up cause and effect - the antagonism for arabs in Europe is most likely a RESULT of their behaviour, not it's cause. The huge difference is not the way they are treated, but how and why they come to the country! In US and Canada it's mostly people who are willing to work and live they version of "American dream" and just try to live better lives. In Canada there are no ghetto neighborhoods. In "socialist" Europe a vast segment of arabs live on welfare in huge social housing complexes, receive huge social benefits that dissuade them from getting starter low-paying jobs, and they know that coming there. So it's two completely different mentalities of arabs coming to US/Canada and Europe.

  • ALAN SPENSER||

    I BELIEVE THIS ARTICLE IS CITING 'LEGAL' IMMIGRANTS AS THE SOURCE OF THEIR DATA. THESE PEOPLE HAVE JUMPED THROUGH LOTS OF HOOPS TO EARN THEIR CITIZENSHIP AND CHERISH IT. CITIES WITH HIGH % OF 'ILLEGAL' IMMIGRANTS (PHEONIX) DO NOT SHARE THE SAME BLISSFUL EXISTENCE.

  • Brutus||

    I would hazard a guess that something like the Bradley Effect is at work here. 50%+ of the SAME nationality immigrants make for a more peaceful town.

  • ||

    I'm sure someone else pointed this out, but "Immigrant" and "Illegal Immigrant" are not the same thing. This may seem baffling to some, but someone who does NOT break the law in order to stay in the country is probably less inclined to break other laws as well.

    A higher number of illegal immigrants in a town near one of the most violent places on Earth probably has a rather high law enforcement presence as well. Nothing deters criminal intent like a cop car passing by every five minutes.

    Also, Maryland has rather strict gun control laws, especially compared to Texas. Might the number of people who go armed in El Paso vs. Baltimore have an effect on crime, as it has every other place in the country?

    I think that using specious reasoning to support an open borders hypothesis is a rather unwise position. Reason is usually so good at applying logic to other problems, and it seems lamentable that contributors, and in this case an editor, cannot resist the Liberal/Leftist impulse to set aside emotion on an issue and look at this problem as subjectively as possible.

  • ||

    This article misses the point completely of the border hawks--it's not that illegal immigrants are disproportionately committing crimes, it's that they are committing crimes AT ALL. Put another way, immigration is the only manner that adds to our population that allows us to select who we let in (as opposed to who is born and bred here, and how they are bred), therefore anyone who wants in from the outside is expected to be beter than good. The fact that someone was not chosen to enter and should not be here in the first place is what really outrages people about illegal immigrant crime. They never should have been here in the first place! They aren't comparing average incarceration rates of native-born and foreign-born, they're saying anything above 0 is bad because but-for the illegality, the crime would never have occurred! And a porouse border encourages this.

  • ||

    HOLLAND (Michigan) -- Police hope to stop a recent spate of escalating violence among gangs that left two vehicles burned and shots fired over three consecutive days.

    So far, no one has been hurt, but police worry that could change.

    "I'm afraid if the drive-by shootings continue to happen, then an innocent person is going to get hurt," Holland Police Sgt. John Darrow said today.

    Police hope community involvement -- reporting people involved in crimes and alerting officers to suspicious activity -- will make a difference.

    "There is no question there are people out there who know who these (shooters) are," Darrow said.

    Neighborhood Watch programs and community involvement took center stage Monday night as Holland celebrated its annual National Night Out program at Kollen Park, with entertainment, police demonstrations and numerous booths.

    Holland's recent violence started with the arson of two vehicles parked in a Montrose Avenue driveway early Friday, then spilled over into shots being fired over the weekend.

    Witnesses said someone fired shots into the air behind the Columbia Avenue 1 Stop store near Columbia Avenue and 17th Street on Friday night. Then, at 3:20 a.m. Saturday, officers heard shots fired in southeast Holland and a caller reported five shots were fired at a home at on 18th Street.

    Finally, late Sunday, police in the area of 18th Street and Columbia Avenue heard three shots fired and questioned witnesses believed to be the possible targets.

    The witnesses, however, have not cooperated with police, Darrow said.

    This of course has nothing to do with the explosive "immigrant" population. It's those damn Dutch kids

  • ||

    Just maybe it's because of the border fence?

  • ||

    Here's the data. You analyze it.

    source: http://censtats.census.gov/pub/Profiles.shtml

    Key (in %,rounded,not all add to 100)
    White/Black/Hisp/Asia/Hawaiian/Illegal

    Rankings
    Lowest crime
    1. Honolulu
    20/2/7/46/9/7
    2. El Paso
    17/3/78/1/-/16
    3. New York City
    35/27/27/10/-/20
    4. San Jose,Calif
    44/2/24/26/-/20
    5. Austin
    61/8/26/4/-/9
    6. San Diego
    55/6/27/9/-/13
    7. Seattle
    76/4/5/9/-/8
    8. Portland, Ore
    81/3/8/5/-/8
    9. Denver
    70/6/19/3/-/8
    10. Los Angeles
    31/10/45/12/-/23

    Highest crime
    1. Detroit
    70/23/3/2/-/4
    2. Memphis, Tenn
    48/47/3/2/-/2
    3. Baltimore
    66/27/2/3/-/3
    4. Washington, D.C.
    28/61/8/3/-/9
    5. Atlanta
    60/29/7/3/-/7
    6. Philadelphia
    69/22/5/4/-/4
    7. Indianapolis
    81/14/3/1/-/2
    8. Columbus, Ohio
    80/13/2/2/-/3
    9. Milwaukee
    74/16/6/2/-/3
    10. Dallas
    56/15/23/4/-/13

  • Barry Cooper||

    How is it that you neglected to mention Arizona, where kidnapping of and by illegal aliens is a HUGE problem? El Paso is safe because it is not a drug conduit. Add drugs, and it will look like Juarez. I don't know the logistics, or why they use the Nogales area, but plainly they do, and negative consquences flow from it.

  • ||

    El Paso is a drug conduit, as are all ports of entry from Mexico. It is by sheer numbers that most of the contraband gets through and customs play a cat and mouse game with the smugglers who are always coming up with ingenious ways of hiding their illicit cargo.

    In the 1990s The border patrol practically sealed the border in El Paso in Operation Hold the Line. A similar operation was done in San Diego.

    As a result drug and human smugglers were shunted to the isolated and inhospitable desert in Arizona. The US authorities believed that doing so would lessen both immigration and smuggling. Obviously it did not, to the detriment of the unprepared immigrants and the tenaciousness of the drug mules (couriers).

    Many immigrants have died there, others abused and raped by the coyotes, and have also attacked the border patrol.

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets...

  • ||

    I might be off-topic a bit, but I saw this article from NPR about the Latino-American community in Detroit at http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....=126309820

    Could be possible then a kind of "mini El Paso miracle" happens in Motor City?

  • ||

    The correlation between "high populations of [illegal] immigrants" and safe cities is a misnomer. More objective data proves this theory to be flatly bunk. According to crime statistics in nearly every major city throughout the US, as well as the FBI, the illegal alien crime rate is 125 times higher than that of the average American citizen - it is a simple issue of statistics.

  • ||

    What objective data? Where can I see it?

    Thank you.

  • ||

    Well having every police agency in the Federal Government stationed there helps keep the gang/drug/cartel/ criminals at bay.

    Most who cross from Juarez do so to go shopping at the inexpensive stores near the bridges that cater to them. They return at the end of the day. Of course some don't, especially youths, and they get in trouble very fast.

    El Pasoans are gregarious and love to party and celebrate. That's their nature. Do drink the water, it helps with depression.

  • 50 Inch Flat Screen Tv||

    Another excellent post, thank you, this is why I continue visiting here!

  • ||

    That was a very interesting read, thanks for taking the time to post it.

  • ||

    I live in a predominantly immigrant (Hispanic, African, West Indian) neighborhood with a decent percentage of Afro-Americans of US descent and Euro-Americans (many immigrants or children of immigrants). No to low crime, polite kids, quiet. There is a drug problem in a nearby Caucasian-Hispanic neighborhood. It would be hard to imagine any kids on my block managing to sneak drugs into their lives.

  • ||

    Given many of the comments here, why is this site called Reason.com?

    Christian Arabs are considered equivalent to "native" French (de la racine) in France. Many other Arabs of Muslim background are well integrated. I lived for a while in my Arabic-Jewish cousin's apartment in the left wing section of Paris . There were many assimilated Arab-Algerians in the neighborhood.

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  • Ricky||

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • ||

    You are obviously biased in favour of illegals. It's even more apparent you live no where the large populations of illegals.
    I live around them and find them to be highly racists and some what vilent toward whites. Even more the blacks.
    Blacks are obviously the most racists people in the world with an exception to Muslems. Their faith makes them all dangerous. I know you'll say it's only the radical few. Not so if you read and learn their sick religion.

  • دردشة عراقية||

    thanks

  • LosArtesNegros||

    Great Article,

    I have a specialization in Urban Sociology and would have to completely disagree with the professor's assessment regarding the general motivation for Muslim immigrant violence in France, and with the assessment he has made regarding the reasoning behind the lack of violence among Mexican and Central American immigrants in the border regions. As you will see the professor is woefully ignorant to the point which one has to wonder if he is deliberately misleading in order to further an agenda.

    As to the first point, The predominant driving group influence driving Islamic violence in Europe is the Quran and the Hadith; Islam is a militarist, expansionist political system whose followers largely see themselves as conquerors. No serious person that I know considers it a religion. Much of the EU member states have legal codes, employment practices and business development programs which actually favor Islamic immigrants over the host population. The reason why there is much more violence in those countries is simply a matter of numbers and the perception of the host countries as culturally weak and submissive. The idea that Islamic violence is a REACTION to marginalization is as laughable as suggesting the European genocide of the Native population of the United States was due to marginalization... How could any Sociologist who thinks this be taken seriously?

  • LosArtesNegros||

    As for the situation in El Paso, I'd have to read over the professor's research and conclusions to see if his model holds up under honest critique.

    It wouldn't surprise me if it did, but one has to wonder, at what expense does this come for the Native Anglo and African American population, especially the working class, who are institutionally discriminated against by Hispanic businesses, many of which are given preferential tax-free status...

    Is the professor really thinking about what is actually happening?

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