Myths about crime and immigration 

What would you think if someone told you that the Hispanic incarceration rate in state prisons, when adjusted for age, is only slightly higher than that of whites? It certainly runs against the common wisdom voiced daily by radio and television hosts railing against the hordes of illegal immigrants descending upon America.

In the March print edition of The American Conservative, Ron Unz runs the numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics on state prisons, where nearly all violent criminals serve sentences for rape, murder, robbery and other such felonies. Unz consulted BJS numbers from 2005, which included better state breakdowns than the more recent numbers, and which also looked at a period of time when Hispanic incarceration rates were slightly higher than they are today.

Unz's analysis includes some surprising state-by-state breakdowns. They show whites and Hispanics in their peak crime years -- between 18 and 29 -- are imprisoned at roughly the same rates when you exclude the Northeast. In fact, in Texas, Florida and Georgia, Whites are incarcerated at significantly higher rates than Hispanics.

It could still be that illegal immigrants make up a disproportionate number of Hispanic state prisoners -- that's something that the BJS numbers would not show. But there is scant evidence to that effect so far. If there is a problem of too much immigration, it doesn't appear to be in the realm of violent crime.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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