Jan Brewer spent most of the spring and summer bolstering her (now-successful) bid for the AZGOP's nomination for governor by playing into the GOP base's fear of the "other," particularly immigrants. She has spent the last few months spouting off about a growing crime wave that is wracking Arizona, particularly immigrant-caused crimes.
...In her statement regarding her approval of SB1070...
...In the Clean Elections debate for the Republican candidates for governor...
...During an interview with Fox News...
...And in numerous other speeches, interviews, and press releases.
She spends most of her time talking up her stance against immigrants, but ignoring the issues that matter most to Arizonans - the state's failing education system (for their children's future) and the state's cratered economy (for their own present and future). She has nothing to address those concerns.
Well, it turns out that she has little more than nothing on crime - her alleged "crime wave" that Arizonans from which Arizonans need protection is nothing but a lie.
From the FBI's 2009 crime statistics for Arizona, released on Monday -
Violent crimes: down 13.9% (compared to a national drop of 5.3%)
Violent crime rate (per 100K population): down 15.1% (nationally, decreased 6.1%)
Property crimes: down 11.7% (down 4.6% nationally)
Property crime rate: down 13% (down 5.5% nationally)
Across the board, crime in Arizona has declined at a greater rate than the decline nationally.
I'm guessing that at some point, Brewer's handlers told her to keep driving home the "crime is up" talking point, probably both to bolster support for her among the fearful GOP faithful and to subtly undermine the credibility of the Democratic nominee, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
However, lying so brazenly only serves to further undermine her credibility as a candidate best qualified to lead Arizona into the next decade.
And after her dreadful performance during the televised debate with Goddard, she needs to shore up her credibility, not undermine it.
I just came across your blog yesterday, and I'm happy to find it.
"I'm guessing that at some point, Brewer's handlers told her to keep driving home the 'crime is up' talking point, probably both to bolster support for her among the fearful GOP faithful and to subtly undermine the credibility of the Democratic nominee, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard."
Yes, of course they did. You can even hear one of them coaching her during the "interview" after the debate. When the reporters are pressing her about whether or not she will retract her statements about the headless bodies, the male associate on her right mumbles, "It's about crime." Brewer either didn't hear him or didn't understand him, because she then turns on her heel and ends the "interview."
Because Brewer has several high-level advisors who are former private prison lobbyists, it makes sense that they would want their candidate to instill fear in Arizonans that crime is on the rise. It makes sense to get her to sign laws that create new crimes. More crime=more criminals=more [private] prisons.
"However, lying so brazenly only serves to further undermine her credibility as a candidate best qualified to lead Arizona into the next decade.
"And after her dreadful performance during the televised debate with Goddard, she needs to shore up her credibility, not undermine it."
Then why, oh why, is she even further ahead in the polls after that debate?
"Then why, oh why, is she even further ahead in the polls after that debate?"
Sad to say, but I have absolutely no idea.
I prefer my candidates to have at least a little substance, but apparently not every voter has the same standard for the candidates that they support.
It is all but impossible to use statewide crime statistics to measure the impact of a "shadow group," such as illegal immigrants, on crime. Of course if you were so inclined, the decrease in crime between 2008 and 2009 is consistent with illegals causing more crime because that is when the jobs and illegal immigrants both began to leave Arizona. But again, it is stretching the data to arrive at any conclusion.
A better indicator, although once again not a complete one, is to compare the number of known criminal illegal aliens with their portion of the population. Using the often cited Pew estimate of 500,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona, we can conclude that they comprise about 7.7% of the population. However, they make up about 14% of persons “booked” into Maricopa County jails and constitute about 14.7% of Arizona’s prison population. Thus, known data supports the view that illegal immigrants commit more crime, beyond being here illegally, than legal residents.
State Rep. John Kavanagh
Thank you for the information. Do you know what percentage of the prison population is male?
I find it hard to believe Kavanaugh when he has been less than candid about the amount of money taken from the school budget. He called the last session productive when it was a disaster. The state is going into the next year with a huge budget deficit, part of it carried over from this year. It's important to understand! They lie and lie and lie. So Kavanaugh citing stats about crime is the same as Nixon professing his honesty. Come on John. for once be honest!!!!
The thing about Jan Brewer's comments is that they are indicative of how this immigration issue has been demogogued to win political support. Does Jan Brewer win the Republican nomination without HB1070? I'm not so sure.
Excuse me while I make a pretty long comment to illustrate how some of the complexities of this issue are not getting discussed:
Watching the documentary "Food,Inc." they make the following very salient point (a point I've heard before):
Combining NAFTA with the heavy farm subsidies our industrialized farms receive, the Mexican farmer has been squeezed right out of business. Its just impossible for a small farmer in a poor country to compete against a industrialized US farm subsidized by US tax payers.
So, these huge industries recruit workers from Mexico in order to get cheap, easily exploitable labor.
Now, with the rising anti-immigration fervor, who is feeling the brunt of this? Is NAFTA getting re-examined? The farm subsidies? The employers who recruit and exploit cheap (slave?) labor?
No, instead its the Mexican migrant worker who is getting it from every end.
This is only one narrow slice of an issue that's incredibly complex, and I agree with Mr. Kavanagh that there is a reason to be concerned with illegal immigrant crime, but most of the violence has been contained in Mexico.
I would also assume that most of the crime from the illegal community comes from those supporting the drug cartels (something HB1070 does nothing to address by the way).
If we can somehow group those illegals who come here to get otherwise legitimate work to earn a living and support their families separately from the rest, I'm guessing you'll find crime statistics in that group much lower than even the overall population.
The problem is that HB1070 causes trouble for those here both legally and illegally who are doing legitimate work and does very little to address the drug trade.
Again, I apologize for the long comment :-).
Rep. Kavanagh - Your comment and my response merits a post of its own. Please read the next post.
Jerry - same thing. I responded to Kavanagh's comment in a post of its own. I think it addresses some of your points.
TT - No problem with the long comment. The wonderful thing about cyberspace is that it's only electrons, and those are endlessly recyclable.
We definitely agree on the fact that economics on both sides of the border drive much of the illegal immigration phenomenon.
I'm not sure how to address the economics, but until we figure out a way to do so, the phenomenon will continue.
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