MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The tragic death of an Indianapolis Colts football player has reignited the debate over illegal immigration.
President Trump just cited it as more evidence of the need for a border wall along the southern U.S. border.
But how much crime do those living in the U.S. without legal permission commit?
Police say Guatamalan citizen Manuel Orrega Savala was drunk — three times the legal limit — when his pickup truck struck and killed Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and an Uber driver.
Compounding the tragedy, state police say the man was in the country illegally and had already been deported twice, according to a report by CBS4 in Indianapolis.
The suspect’s immigration status inflamed the political debate.
On Twitter, President Trump assailing Democrats “to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST.” — linking immigration and crime nine times in his State of The Union Speech.
The Trump re-election campaign even posted an ad about Democrats and illegal immigration:
“Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder by illegal immigrants,” the ad says.
But that political narrative doesn’t match the reality: Immigrants — including those living in the U.S. illegally — commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.
The president’s own Justice Department reports foreign-born people are 13 percent of the U.S. population, but only 5.6 percent of convicts.
And the so-called “Dreamers” — brought to the U.S. illegally as children — have the lowest crime rates of all: Just one quarter of 1 percent have ever been convicted of any crime, and immigrant juveniles are less likely to to be repeat offenders.
The president’s border wall is the lightning rod in the immigration debate, with 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal permission. The vast majority of them are Mexican, but many are not Hispanic at all:
- Mexico — 6.2 million
- Guatemala — 723,000
- El Salvador — 465,000
- Honduras — 337,000
- China — 268,000
- India — 267,000
- Korea — 168,000
Of those 11 million, 42 percent didn’t sneak across the border — they overstayed their visas.
Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:
US Justice Department: Prisoners in 2016
Center For Migration Studies