Fact Check: Beto O’Rourke Falsely Claims Migrants Commit Less Crime than Americans

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Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) used an event in Charleston, South Carolina, to repeat the false claim migrants supposedly commit less crime than American citizens.

O’Rourke, in an exchange with Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak, stated “we know” migrants from Mexico and Central America commit fewer crimes than native-born American citizens.

O’Rourke said [emphasis added]:

I believe in the truth, and in being honest about what the president was doing … We’re constantly warned of an “invasion” of killers, and rapists, and animals, from Central America and Mexico, though we know that they commit crimes at a far lower rate than those who are born in this country. This is a very coordinated attack on minorities in this country, on the most vulnerable and the defenseless, for political gain for the president.And he knows full well that it not only offends our sensibilities as a country, it is leading to violence and the taking of lives, as we saw in El Paso. [Emphasis added]

Such claims, though, are contradicted by the most recent federal data released by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Illegal aliens, specifically, begin with a criminal record when they enter the U.S. as crossing international borders is a criminal misdemeanor while continued illegal entry can be prosecuted as a felony.

Even when these immigration-related crimes are discounted, non-U.S. citizens — including illegal aliens, legal immigrants, and temporary visa holders — are still overrepresented in federal arrests and federal prosecutions.

DOJ officials confirmed that while non-U.S. citizens make up only about seven percent of the total U.S. population, they accounted for 15 percent of all non-immigration federal arrests and 15 percent of all federal prosecutions for non-immigration crimes in 2018. Nearly nine percent of these federal arrests of non-U.S. citizens for non-immigration crimes are for violent crimes, while 23.5 percent are for drug crimes.

This federal data indicates non-U.S. citizens were about 2.3 times as likely to be arrested or prosecuted for non-immigration federal crimes in 2018. The DOJ report does not decipher between native-born U.S. citizens and foreign-born naturalized U.S. citizens, which means the totals for federal arrests of individuals born outside the country is likely even higher.

Across all federal arrests, more Mexican nationals were arrested in 2018 than U.S. citizens and nearly 64 percent of all federal arrests were of non-U.S. citizens while U.S. citizen federal arrests account for just 36 percent.

In states, there is less available data that deciphers crimes based on the suspect’s citizenship and immigration status but for those that are available, the data dictates that illegal aliens, specifically, make up an unusually large portion of state prison populations.

Take Nevada, for example, where the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Arthur Kane analyzed federal, state, and local records to find that about 1-in-14 state inmates are illegal aliens. About half of these illegal aliens were convicted for violent crimes against Americans, including 150 convicted for murder, manslaughter, or attempted murder, and 320 convicted for sexual assault including 240 convicted of sex crimes against children.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) analyzed federal data in February to conclude that illegal aliens are in some cases more than five times as likely to be incarcerated than legal immigrants and American citizens.

In California, illegal aliens were 3.3 times as likely to be incarcerated compared to legal immigrants and American citizens, as well as four times as likely in Arizona, 5.5 times as likely in New Jersey, and 3.5 times as likely in Washington.

American taxpayers are forced every year to subsidize the cost of foreign nationals in federal prisons, as well as those in local and state prisons. Taxpayers pay about $1.4 billion a year to incarcerate foreign nationals in federal prison.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


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