(NewsNation Now) — United States-born citizens are more likely to contribute to crime rates than undocumented immigrants, according to Texas Criminal Justice System data.
U.S. citizens were more than two times more likely to be arrested for a violent crime than an undocumented immigrant, this data showed, and are more likely to engage in every type of felony crime except traffic violations.
Traffic violations were the only crime most likely to be committed by legal immigrants.
In general, legal immigrants are about two times more likely to commit a crime than those who are undocumented overall. About 800 out of every 100,000 legal immigrants were found to commit a crime, compared to 400 per 100,000 undocumented immigrants.
These statistics line up with research Ernesto Castañeda, a sociology professor and director of the Immigration Lab at American University, has done.
Speaking to NewsNation about a poll it conducted with Decision Desk HQ on immigration, Castañeda said not only do immigrants commit less crime, but increased immigration correlates with decreased crimes in areas migrants tend to go.
This could be because undocumented immigrants are scared of being deported or getting parole, Castañeda said.
About 86% of those polled by NewsNation and Decision Desk said immigration is a somewhat or very important issue, though the question of what to do about it was more polarizing. One of the only other questions to get major consensus was whether people thought there should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants: 70% said yes.
Highly divided views on immigration come as the situation along the southern border grows tenser.
A record-breaking 1.7 million people were arrested there last year. By the spring, U.S. border officials are projected to make as many as 9,000 border arrests per day.
In NewsNation’s poll, the border wall proved to be one topic people were divided on: 51% of those polled said that they think the border wall is effective, while 49% say it’s ineffective.
Mayor Douglas Nicholls of Yuma, Arizona, which is right along the border, said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America,” that he thinks the wall is effective.
“I mean, when we just get down to the practicality of a physical barrier, it’s going to have an impact,” Nicholls said.
When George Bush allowed for the construction of a security fence along the southern border, which included Yuma, Nicholls said they saw incursions into the sector drop down from 148,000 to 8,000. A wall was being constructed in Yuma, but under the Biden administration, work on it was halted.
“What it does is it provides a tool that allows Border Patrol law enforcement to control the flow,” Nicholls, said, adding that the high level of illegal immigration in Yuma is taxing the economy and Border Patrol’s resources.
However, immigration experts, including one who spoke to NewsNation about its poll, disagree with the wall’s effectiveness, saying it just makes migrants’ journeys more dangerous.
When it comes to immigration, Nicholls said, people need to take a step back and look at the complexities of the issue and differentiate between legal and illegal immigration.
Not doing so “makes it very, very difficult to come to a consensus on anything,” Nicholls said.
“The ultimate goal here in my role is to protect the community and make sure that we’re prepared for anything that would try to come through this uncontrolled process,” Nicholls said.