Arizona Gov Jan Brewer’s going on and on about all the phantom headless bodies and drug running kidnappers criss-crossing her state, but the facts tell a different story. Not only is there no record of said decapitations, but the real picture of crime across Arizona is actually much less exciting.
The DC-based mainstream immigrant rights group America’s Voice released a graph yesterday showing that crime in the state actually decreased 12 percent since 2002 [via HuffPo]. All across the state, individual city crime rates are down by even bigger double-digit margins. That is, everywhere except for Maricopa County, the municipality governed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the county’s self-named “Toughest Sheriff” in America. America’s Voice argues that Arpaio’s unnecessarily harsh and aggressive immigration enforcement has left him little time to fight actual crime in Maricopa County, and that’s why crime where he lives is up 58 percent.
But in Phoenix, Arizona, violent crime is down 14 percent, and in the swanky Phoenix suburbs of Scottsdale, crime is down 15 percent. Tempe has seen a 26 percent drop in crime since 2002, topped only by Mesa, Arizona, whose violent crime rate is down 31 percent.
The border violence myth is not based in fact, but its grabbed the imagination of border security zealots who’ve successfully won an extra $500 million and a promise of 1,200 extra National Guard troops from President Obama to bolster military presence at the border. It’s the lie Sen. John McCain spreads when he’s pushing bills like SB 1070, or stumping for more and more and more National Guard troops to be sent to the border. It’s also these lies that have justified the Obama administration’s ramped up immigration enforcement throughout the rest of the country. The Obama administration deported more people in 2009—388,000—than ever in U.S. history.
But who cares about facts? As Jamilah King reported, Arizona pols, Dems included, can’t be concerned about such silly things.