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During a recent conversation about Arizona’s new law requiring proof of legal residency, I heard two statements which, I am sure, are being mindlessly echoed by too many Americans.
“Ninety-five percent of crime in Arizona is committed by illegals.”
Illegal immigrants are an estimated 7.9 percent of the population of Arizona. The assertion that they commit 95 percent of the crime in that state is a statistical improbability, if not impossibility.
“Illegals smuggle drugs.”
Large amounts of drugs that enter the United States do not do so through official border crossings. In that case, the smugglers as well as the drugs are illegal. But the suggestion that the people desperate for work who walk miles through inhospitable and deadly deserts do so with their pockets stuffed with bags of marijuana or cocaine may be mildly described as “ludicrous.” Drug cartels would hardly trust millions of dollars of goods to this unlikely and uncertain method of transportation.
Illegal immigration is a problem and not one that will not be easily solved. But legislation must be based on fact, not on fear. Arizona’s law is based more on xenophobia and hysteria than on reality and careful deliberation.
Adele E. Zimmermann