Citing rising crime, Utah`s D.C. delegation asks Homeland Security for more immigration agents By Matt Canham The Salt Lake Tribune Article Last Updated: 03/05/2008 02:37:10 PM MSTPosted: 2:12 PM- WASHINGTON —Utah needs at least 22 more federal immigration agents, according to letters sent Wednesday by members of Congress to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Our jails are full. The crime rates continue to increase, and we can no longer let this problem escalate," reads one of the letters, signed by Utah`s two senators and three representatives.[More]That`s why stories like this one, from Jeff Jacoby, [Send him mail]are so incredible: Immigration and crime, The Boston Globe, March 5, 2008. Jacoby seems convinced, on the basis of a new California Public Policy Institute study, [PDF] that immigration somehow actually lowers crime. We`ve dealt with this silly claim repeatedly—one reason immigrant crime can seem lower is that we don`t know about it.(In the media, we aren`t allowed to know about it.) Check out this CIS Backgrounder by Carl Horowitz:
Immigration enthusiasts might be prone to use such research as evidence that widespread fear of immigrant crime is an irrational, if understandable, response to sensationalized anecdotes. But such a view may be hasty in its own right. Many immigrant crimes are not reported, and possibly in greater proportion than the crimes that the U.S.-born commit. Many victims of immigrant criminals fear reporting crimes to the police because their victimizers are of the same nationality, and thus are more likely to retaliate in ways that would dissuade the victim from calling police.
This is especially true with immigrant crime rings. As illegal economic activity, organized crime requires an unusually high level of trust to maintain a veil of secrecy from police and mob rivals alike. A common language and experience, apart from the larger American one, can link such people. "Â“Criminals,"Â” writes immigration critic Peter Brimelow, Â“"prefer to deal with co-conspirators they understand and trust Â— in economist-speak, it reduces their transaction costs. And such tightly-knit groups, operating in a foreign and sometimes obscure language, are notoriously difficult for the police to penetrate."Â”[Alien Nation, page 185]