Following up on my story about El Paso's large immigrant population and low rate of violent crime, the Immigration Policy Center points to a study I missed by the America's Majority Foundation. The study looks at overall social indicators in states with high immigration rates versus the rest of the country during the immigration boom between 1999-2006. On the subject of crime, the study finds….
• While the overall crime rate in the U.S. dropped 10.9 percent, the crime rate in the 19 states that saw the largest influx of immigrants dropped 13.6 percent.
• In 1999, the 19 states that would settle the largest number of immigrants over the next seven years had a crime rate higher than the national average. By 2006, their crime rate was lower.
• Violent crime in the 19 high-immigration states dropped 15.0 percent over seven-year period. Violent crime in the other 32 states (the study included D.C.) dropped just 1.2 percent.
The authors are careful to explain that lots of variables contribute to a state's crime rate, and they warn that one should not conclude from their study alone that immigration reduces crime. But it does present a pretty strong refutation of the argument that immigrants are creating more crime in the states where they settle.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy also kindly mentioned my article today, and added an interesting statistic of his own: "Illegal immigrants generated an extra $17.7 billion in the Texas economy when the state comptroller checked in 2006. That was after subtracting the cost of emergency healthcare and their American-born children's education."