Who is Afraid of Sanctuary Cities?

by Latoya Peterson

Reader Kheng sent in this video, currently being aired in California. Kheng writes:

I am watching TV and I come across this commercial. It made me sick to my stomach. I don’t know if you want to feature it on the blog, but I found it quite offensive and I am surprised it even aired.

After checking out the video, I can see what she means:

Text:


Californians are a compassionate people.

Our sanctuary cities defy state laws, so we can protect illegal aliens – even though they are named in 95% of outstanding homicide warrants in L.A.

Even though they are wanted in up to two-thirds of fugitive felony arrest warrants. Illegal alien gang members get back on the street because our cops can’t ask immigration status.

Have sanctuary cities taken our compassion too far?

Share your opinion at Capsweb.org.

Paid for by Californians for Population Stabilization.

I know y’all loved the standard issue Latino gang member (complete with red bandanna and mustache) and promises of property crime. They even made sure to show they were not being racist – they used a picture of a black cop! (But, on second glance, that cop looks kind of blatino…maybe the LAPD is on the side of the illegals!)

Okay, all joking aside, I’ve been seeing this “illegals are murders” meme popping up a few different places now. So let’s focus on the statistics that are cited in the video. Are the numbers cited true?

There has been a lot of discussion about the cost of undocumented im/migrants in California. The governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, broke with his state party interests earlier this year when he condemned scapegoating California’s budget woes on undocumented workers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called it a “big mistake” Wednesday to blame illegal immigrants for the state’s looming $8 billion budget gap, just as Republican lawmakers have proposed a rollback of benefits for illegal immigrants to save money.

The Republican governor was pitching his long-term budget solution in San Luis Obispo when Diane Blakeslee, mother of GOP Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, asked Schwarzenegger how the state should handle financial burdens created by illegal immigrants.

“There is, you know, always a time like this where you start pointing the finger at various different elements of what creates the budget mess, and, you know, some may point the finger at illegal immigrants,” Schwarzenegger said. “I can guarantee you, I have been now four years in office in Sacramento, I don’t think that illegal immigration has created the mess that we are in.”

Assembly Republicans this week promoted nearly two dozen bills they said would reduce the “negative impact” that illegal immigrants have on the state budget and border security.

The financial cost of illegal immigration has been a hotly debated topic, particularly in California, which receives some of the highest rates of entrance in the country. There are some estimates on how much illegal immigration costs California each year, but these numbers are often debated because the calculations are based on a few different assumptions, as it is difficult to supply hard census data.

The Public Policy Institute of California published a “Just the Facts” paper on immigration with the following note:

Note: No representative national or state surveys provide an accurate direct count of undocumented immigrants and their characteristics. The most credible estimates use a residual technique in which undocumented immigrant populations are estimated based on subtracting estimates of legal immigrants from estimates of all immigrants

So, the population of undocumented migrants is difficult to pinpoint. And yet, somehow, the CAPS video was able to definitively state that undocumented immigrants compose “95% of outstanding homicide warrants” in L.A.

Unsurprisingly, I was unable to find any information to back up this claim. However, I did start investigating homicide rates in California. The most recent data from the Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice indicates some sobering statistics:

From 1997 to 2006, the largest percentage of homicide arrestees and victims were Hispanic.

Hey wait, what’s that? Homicide arrestees and victims? Interesting.

The report goes on to mention:

* Of homicide arrest rates, 41.7% of males arrested were Hispanic (820/1732) and 4.6% of women arrested were Hispanic (90/235). (p.8)

And another note of interest:

Comparing 1997 to 2006:

* The male homicide rate decreased 9.0 percent and the female homicide rate decreased 21.4 percent.
* The white homicide rate decreased 12.9 percent, the Hispanic homicide rate decreased 25.2 percent, and the black homicide rate was the same (p. 12)

So, just from the limited data available, I am finding it hard to see where that 95% number would be accurate by any stretch of the imagination.

I logged on to the CAPS website to try to get a data source. Nada. I was able to see tiny print during the video that mentions the 95% figure which looks something like “2008 Congressional…” Does anyone have any idea about where this report could have come from? A Washingtonian myself, I tend to be skeptical of Congressional Reports, as half are written by the people/lobbyists/corporations trying to influence policy in their favor.

Thoughts?