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3. Most Illegal Immigrants Are Otherwise Law-Abiding
While illegal immigration is a crime, the act of crossing the border without authorization is a mere misdemeanor. Immigrants, in fact, may help drive crime down. The vast majority want to stay in the country in order to work and so naturally steer clear of breaking any laws. And as The Future of Freedom Foundation's Sheldon Richman pointed out a few years ago, all manners of violent crimes dropped dramatically since 1986, the last time an amnesty was granted to illegal immigrants. Yes, 14 percent of federal inmates are illegal immigrants, but they are largely there for immigration violations. On the state level, Richman notes, less than 5 percent of inmates are illegal immigrants. Not exactly the makings of a crime wave.
Next: What do individual rights have to do with it?