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4 Things Donald Trump Got so Wrong About Mexican Immigrants

Mexico United States Activism
by Amanda Machado Jul 3, 2015

TRUMP’S NOW INFAMOUS STATEMENT about Mexican immigrants caused NBC, Univision, and Macy’s to end business relationships with him. Yet Trump continues to stand by his original assertions.

Did his comments hold any element of truth? Here are a few facts that prove otherwise.

1. When the immigration population grows, crime actually declines.

Though the foreign-born population of the U.S. grew from 7.9% to 12.9% between 1990 to 2010, and the number of unauthorized immigrants tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million, FBI data showed that violence crime also declined 45 percent during that same period. The declines occured even in the states with the higher immigration populations: a 2008 report found that in the nineteen highest immigration states, the total crime rate declined more than 13% from 1999 to 2006. In the other 32 states, the crime rate only declined 7.1%.

2. Even when lacking formal education, immigrant men have a lower rate of incarceration compared to native-born men.

A 2007 study by University of California Irvine found that in 2000, the 3.5 percent incarceration rate for native-born men ages 18-39 was five times higher than the 0.7 percent rate for immigrant men. Even among high school dropouts, 9.8 percent of the native-born were in prison compared to only 1.3 percent of immigrants.

In New Jersey specifically, an analysis of data from the New Jersey Department of Corrections and U.S. Census Bureau by New Jersey’sStar-Ledger found that U.S. citizens were twice as likely to land in prison as immigrants. A June 2008 report from the Public Policy Institute of California found the same in California.

3. Drug use is actually higher for white American men than for Hispanics.

A 2011 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, controlling for variables like socioeconomic status, found that the rate of severe drug use was 9% for whites versus 7.7% for Hispanics. A 2011 survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also found that around 20% of whites have used cocaine, while only 10% of blacks and Latinos have.

4. Some studies prove that Mexican immigrants are actually the most educationally successful parents out of every immigrant group.

Though children of Mexican immigrants have been chastised for their low levels of educational attainment in general, they actually have the highest rate of educational attainment relative to the educational level of their parents: Mexican immigrant children have a high school graduation rate more than double that of their parents.

Their college graduation rate more than doubles that of their fathers (7 percent) and triples that of their mothers (5 percent). These numbers are higher than any other immigrant group in the U.S, suggesting that Mexican immigrants, though starting with hardly any educational capital, still jump the furthest up the educational ladder and achieve the greatest educational gains from one generation to the next.

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