Trump and the myth of a Mexican crime wave

We have seen how Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE insults Mexicans by his tone and his misstatement of facts on business and trade. He goes even further in insulting Mexican immigrants by suggesting they are criminals and rapists.

Yes, some Mexicans are criminals but not, as he implies, all. One need not believe Trump said that on June 16, but he did imply that; I watched him live, I've read the transcript. He implied all or at best, most, because he did say "some" Mexicans were nice people.

Also disagreeing with Trump's implication is former Texas Gov. Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Defense: Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy | Trump, Macron downplay rift on Iran | Trump mourns West Point cadet's death in accident | Pentagon closes review of deadly Niger ambush Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' MORE (R), who debunks Trump — and he should know. Perry declares that Trump knew exactly what he was saying when he said it.

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Trump's June 16 announcement about Mexicans, crime and building a "great wall" on the Mexican border and having the Mexicans pay for it is pure demagoguery said only to appeal to low-information voters.

Remember, Trump did not say "illegal alien Mexicans" in his June 16 statement. He said: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best ... They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."

Let's prove Trump wrong. There is no crime wave by illegals from Mexico. There is crime, yes, but not a crime wave and he has no authentic statistics to support his claim. He has anecdotes. Even the San Francisco story is an anecdote.

Where are official statistics from law enforcement agencies? They are not produced because the Trumps of the world depend on anti-immigrant nongovernmental organizations that puff up phony stats to suit their and Trump's anti-Mexican-immigrant passion.

Let's look at real numbers. California has the largest number of illegal aliens: 2.5 million, maybe more. It also has the second most prison inmates (Texas is No. 1).

California's latest official prison numbers, from 2013, are 133,390 prisoners. Of the 133,390 prisoners, there were 13,010 Mexican-born prisoners, less than 10 percent. And of those, 9,605 had actual or potential "holds" assigned by the federal government for possibly being illegal aliens.

Note: Being Mexican-born is not proof of illegal presence in the U.S. as Mexico has been the largest source of legal immigration for decades.

Seven percent of the California prison population might be illegal aliens from Mexico — some crime wave, Mr. Trump.

Trump and his supporters will point to the federal prison system, which has 33,000 Mexican-born inmates, 16 percent of the total population of 159,000. Wow! That’s horrible — except that most are not there for violent crimes, for murder, for rape, for aggravated assault; they are there mostly for immigration violations and smuggling of cigarettes, marijuana and other illicit substances. Trump won't say that, even if he knows it, because that would derail his tirade.

Even the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) hasn't found proof to support Trump. Jessica Vaughan, CIS director of policy studies, has said that connections between illegal immigrants and crime are hard to make. She studied crime and illegal immigrants and has said: "We didn't find any evidence to support the idea that either immigrants are more prone to crime or less prone to crime than ... legally resident Americans. ... It's very tricky."

Not as tricky as Donald Trump, however.

Contreras was formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate and the New American News Service of The New York Times Syndicate.