On immigration and labor

Stories from the NYT, here and here.

Money quote from the first story on the incongruity between the rhetoric propelling the immigration legislation in Arizona and the facts:

Crime figures, in fact, present a more mixed picture, with the likes of Russell Pearce, the Republican state senator behind the immigration enforcement law, playing up the darkest side while immigrant advocacy groups like Coalición de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Coalition), based in Tucson, circulate news reports and studies showing that crime is not as bad as it may seem.

For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000.

Nationally, the crime rate declined to 455 incidents per 100,000 people, from 507 in 2000.

But the rate for property crime, the kind that people may experience most often, increased in the state, to 4,082 per 100,000 residents in 2008 from 3,682 in 2000. Preliminary data for 2009 suggests that this rate may also be falling in the state’s biggest cities.

What is harder to pin down is how much of the crime was committed by illegal immigrants.

And the second story on the U.S. Department of Labor’s efforts to crack down on child labor in agriculture. It helps to have a Labor Secretary that is the child of immigrant farm workers. Here’s hoping some of the legislation mentioned doesn’t get stonewalled in Congress.

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