There's a lot of nattering about how the state of Arizona simply had to take things into its own hands given the abject failure of the feds to "get control" of the border with Mexico over the past decade. Folks across the spectrum have acknowledged that the Grand Canyon State is in the grip of an immigrant-led crime wave as muy caliente as the speecy-spicy peppers that neo-wetbacks are surely carrying across the border like so much…produce from Mexico, a member in proud standing of a North American free trade zone.
So, what's actually up with crime and illegal entries into Arizona?
According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona's population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008….
The number of apprehensions of unauthorized immigrants made by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency [also shows a decline]. Since a peak in 2000 of more than 600,000 illegal crossers apprehended, the number fell to 241,000 in 2009, Tucson Sector Public Affairs Officer Mario Escalante told CNN.
"We've seen a steady decline," he said.
Now granted, Escalante is a foreign-sounding name, so anything he says should be discounted. But he notes in the same story that drug-cartel violence in Mexico has basically stayed there.
Blaming everything rotten in the world on immigrants is a great American tradition (and, in the case of my Irish and Italian family members who helped make the American Century a little less WASPy, I can kind of understand that). But as Reason noted back in a 2006 special issue devoted to "reality-based immigration reform," the only time immigrants really are a problem is when they stop showing up.