Posted: 08/03/10 01:43, Edited: 08/03/10 17:18
by Dave Mindeman
When it comes to immigration, the Republican "facts" are spewed forth like venom from a snake. They want us to fear illegal immigration...to think that it is a big part of our economic problem.
Except that when these statements are examined, they don't hold up under scrutiny and I am disappointed in the media that does not call the GOP for this shameful characterization.
First, let's take Senator John Kyl of Arizona and this statement on Face the Nation:
When pressed by guest anchor Harry Smith on CBS’ Face the Nation, SB-1070 supporter Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called the reports a “gross generalization”:
SMITH: One of the things that’s come to light over the past last couple weeks is that in some of these border towns that were thought to be susceptible to lawbreaking of illegal immigrants. Crime is actually down. Crime in Phoenix for instance is down significantly over the past couple of years.
KYL: Well, that’s a gross generalization. Property crimes are up, certain violent crimes on certain parts of the citizenry are up. Phoenix is a very large source of kidnapping. It’s called the kidnapping capital of the United States…So there’s a great deal of violence and crime associated with illegal immigrants.
First the statement about property and violent crimes. Take a look at these statistics from Arizona:
Next, let's talk about Phoenix and kidnapping. Senators Kyl and McCain, both perpetuate this....to quote McCain:
"Phoenix, Arizona, is the No. 2 kidnapping capital of the world."
John McCain on Sunday, June 27th, 2010 in comments on 'Meet the Press'
Well, Politifact tried to examine this statement and their conclusion?
Politifact tried to find hard evidence and mostly found that there is questionable statistics on this;
Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence for Stratfor, an Austin-based global intelligence company, separately chimed in: "According to our analysts, there is no way that Phoenix is the No. 2 city in the world for kidnapping and there are significantly more kidnappings in many other cities throughout Latin America," he said. "San Salvador, Guatemala City, Bogota as well as several cities in Mexico certainly have higher kidnapping rates than Phoenix."
But even if you examine Phoenix itself, you find that the problem is real but exaggerated for political effect:
He (Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a public information officer at the Phoenix Police Department) said Phoenix has been dealing with the issue for several years now, and the number of reported kidnappings have actually decreased since this story broke in 2009. There were 358 reported kidnappings in 2008 (10 fewer than reported by the LA Times, due to later reclassification of the crimes), 318 in 2009 and there were 105 from January through May 2010, he said, putting the city on track to sustain less than 300 this year.
If we are going to discuss this issue, let's debate it honestly. We can fix this but not with fearmongering.
And to the media: How about some fact checking?