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Biden border policy critics lament ‘migrant crime wave’

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(The Center Square) – House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark E. Green blasted President Joe Biden for the wave of illegal immigrants entering the U.S., saying a “migrant crime wave” is sweeping the country.

Green’s office said “President Biden and now-impeached Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ refusal to secure the border has helped unleash a new wave of crime across the nation.”

Green published an op-ed in National Review Sunday making that case, and his comments capture a refrain for Republicans this election year, as the border remains in crisis and high-profile crimes by illegal immigrants pile up.

Georgia college student Laken Riley has taken center stage among them after she was allegedly killed by blunt force trauma by an illegal immigrant while jogging on the University of Georgia campus.

“We have no idea if that would have changed anything, but he’s here illegally,” Riley’s father told NBC News. “He might not have been here had we had secure borders.”

During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address, he addressed the issue, misstating Riley’s name in the process, after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shouted at him during his speech.

“Lincoln Riley,” Biden responded, flubbing her name. “An innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal. But how many thousands of people have been killed by legals?”

The death of Riley and others have highlighted the illegal immigration problem and put a face on the violence that can accompany it. Federal and state data paints a more complex, albeit serious, picture of the crime problem than political messengers have delivered so far.

Hundreds of thousands of the migrants caught entering the U.S. have criminal records often including violent offenses.

Many states do not keep good data on the topic, but Texas has the best in the nation. A passage from the Texas Department of Public Safety paints the picture.

According to DHS status indicators, over 430,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011, and February 29, 2024, of which over 301,000 were classified as illegal aliens by DHS.

Between June 1, 2011, and February 29, 2024, these 301,000 illegal aliens were charged with more than 517,000 criminal offenses which included arrests for 960 homicide charges; 65,369 assault charges; 9,383 burglary charges; 60,675 drug charges; 1,162 kidnapping charges; 26,030 theft charges; 40,320 obstructing police charges; 2,978 robbery charges; 6,543 sexual assault charges; 7,547 sexual offense charges; and 6,320 weapon charges.

Hundreds have also been tied to groups on the federal terror watch list, raising more concerns.

Millions more in recent years have gotten past border patrol undetected, making it impossible to know their criminal histories or possible ties to terror groups. Notably, a significant number of them come across the northern border.

More than 11 million illegal immigrants have entered the U.S. since Biden took office, including from adversarial nations like China and Iran.

Law enforcement say that illegal immigrants are key to the smuggling of drugs, including lethal doses of fentanyl, into the U.S. They are often used by cartels, which also engage in human trafficking. Federal agents have captured immense amounts of fentanyl, a key funding source for cartels south of the border.

“Today, fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. In calendar year 2023, DEA seized more than 77 million fentanyl pills and nearly 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder,” the Drug Enforcement Agency said in a news release earlier this year. “This is the most fentanyl seized by DEA in a single year. It amounts to more than 386 million deadly doses of fentanyl – enough to kill every American.”

While there is no denying that illegal immigration has increased the amount of overall violent crimes, the data shows a more complex picture.

Investigations in recent years have shown that illegal immigrants are not more likely to commit violent crimes than those born in the U.S. On top of that, violent crime has dropped significantly in the past year, even as a wave of illegal immigration has surged in the U.S.

Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the Cato Institute, said most states do not collect the right immigration data with their crime data, making it very difficult to discern any correlations.

Almost all states do not track whether violent crimes are committed by illegal immigrants or not.

“Every state and jurisdiction should record the immigration statuses of people they arrest, convict and incarcerate,” Nowrasteh told The Center Square. “But part of this is, we just don’t know.

“I wish we had the data for the whole country,” Nowrasteh added.

States have taken action as well. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week to increase penalties for illegal immigrants who break the law after being deported from the U.S.

“What you find in some of these really significant incidents where people are getting raped or murdered is, it’s not only an illegal alien, but it is somebody who had already been deported from this country and then comes back to commit crimes again so in the state of Florida, if you have been deported and you come to this state…and you commit crimes, we are throwing the book at you,” DeSantis said at a news conference last week.

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