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US-Mexico border violence down

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

Time Magazine’s Tim Padgett writes that Arizona’s immigration law, parts of which were struck down by a federal judge, is unjustifiable on statistical grounds.

In Immigration Debate: Border Cities See Less Violent Crime, he labels the law “draconian” because border violence, from San Diego to Brownsville, is actually down.  Citing FBI figures in numerous Arizona border cities, Padgett writes: 

     “Consider Arizona itself — whose illegal-immigrant population is believed to be second only to California's. The state's overall crime rate dropped 12% last year; between 2004 and 2008 it plunged 23%. In the metro area of its largest city, Phoenix, violent crime — encompassing murder, rape, assault and robbery — fell by a third during the past decade and by 17% last year. The border city of Nogales, an area rife with illegal immigration and drug trafficking, hasn't logged a single murder in the past two years.” 

Focusing on Phoenix he says, “Of abductions since last year, 318 were reported, an 11 percent drop from 2008."  Despite the drop, he still acknowledged that Phoenix has seen a spate of kidnappings, most of which were related to “drug traffickers targeting other narcos for payment narcos [...].” 

And despite painting the law as overblown, Padgett still acknowledged that drug crimes are spilling over from the border to U.S. soil, mentioning Rob Krentz’s death, the rancher suspected of being killed by an illegal immigrant.  Padgett, however dismissed the rancher’s death as a rare victim of crimes by suspected illegal immigrants.  “In fact, if an illegal immigrant did murder Krentz, it would be the first time in more than a decade that a migrant has killed an American along the border's Tucson, Ariz., sector,” Padgett writes. 

While Time Magazine may be an ideologically left-leaning magazine, the conclusion that crime numbers are down isn’t something that is confined to one political ideology, being verified by original hard news reporting.  The Associated Press (AP) also reported reduced border crime. The very same AP story was posted by the conservative-leaning Fox News. 

Recent figures might tarnish Senator John McCain’s claims that border crime has shot up immensely. 

     "The violence is incredibly high. The human smuggling and drug cartels are at a level of violence where 25,000 -- 23,000 Mexican citizens have been murdered in the last few years, 5,000 already this year. There's a level of violence which has increased to a significant degree, which makes the situation far different than it was in 2007[...]," he said. 

Nevertheless, while the numbers may be down, that by default means that some crime still remains and is spilling into United States soil.  Just this week, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported that their offices seized $1.5 million in cocaine and methamphetamine at the Hidalgo International Bridge in Texas. 

While border crime may be down, isn’t even one border-related crime too much? With border security a purview of the federal government, how will Congress specifically address this through “comprehensive immigration reform?”  

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