Trump demanded reports on immigrants and crime. Existing research shows that they are not nearly the threat the president has made them out to be.
Even if the scientific data refutes Trump’s claims about immigrants, weekly lists and quarterly reports on crimes committed by immigrants will keep the dubious association alive in the public’s mind. Clayton Mosher, professor of criminology at Washington State University and author of The Mismeasure of Crime, has warned that highlighting such data may fuel the arguments of nativists, who have already proven their willingness to cherry-pick information.
“If you’re measuring it in a problematic way, anything you derive from those data is going to be completely misleading, and in this case, potentially dangerous as well,” Mosher said.
Immigrants have committed violent crimes, and will continue to do so. But all the available research shows that claims that they pose a special threat are, in a word, bogus. There is, though, strong evidence that anti-immigrant rhetoric does pose a threat — to immigrants themselves.