Thursday, July 9, 2015

Arkady Bukh: Arguing About Immigration in Nevada


The topic of illegal immigration and the crime they may – or may not – bring into the country has been pushed squarely into the spotlight by a billionaire who holds properties in Nevada and a former First Lady who recently spoke out in Las Vegas about the President’s initiatives as she put her stamp on volatile, political real estate.

Does Trump Get His Facts Wrong – Again?

Donald Trump’s candidacy is about two weeks old and “the Trump” has been fairly consistent at sticking to two main points:        

            Defending his anti-immigrant remarks, and

  • Pretending that the companies who ditched him over his anti-immigrant remarks were rejected by him first

The two-week melodrama has given the world a peek into the way Trump’s mind works: Trump is always right until he’s not and then he was never wrong — YOU were.

 The statements that kicked off Donald’s troubles came within the first few minutes of his campaign’s kickoff.

 “When Mexico exports its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

 Later on CNN, Trump tried to offer a defense to anchor Don Lemon.

 “If you look at the statistics…I didn’t say about Mexico, I say the illegal immigrants — if you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything…they’re mind-boggling,” said Trump.

Every part of Trump’s statement is incorrect. Data shows that new immigrants — including illegal immigrants — actually commit less crime, not more.

Publishing in Justice Quarterly, Bianca Bersani said, “Foreign-born individuals exhibit remarkably low levels of criminal involvement across their life course.”

Citing Bersani’s work, Pew Research wrote, “The crime rate among first-generation immigrants — those who came to this country from elsewhere — is significantly lower than the overall crime rate.

Other findings include: 

“There’s no correlation between immigrants and violent crime,” said Jorg Spenkuch, Northwestern University

“Immigrants are underrepresented in Nevada prisons compared to their representation in the overall population,” Published by the Public Policy Institute

How did Trump get a simple point wrong? Trump cited an article from Fusion in his defense and that’s where he made the first step into fallacy.

Lemon pointed out that the story was about immigrant women being raped.

While Trump focuses on immigrants from Mexico, he fails to mention the Chinese immigration problem. That’s understandable. Trump has illegal immigrants working on his luxury hotels while the Chinese immigrants invest in the Trump organization.

Mexico Isn’t the Only Group Bringing Crime Through Immigration

Nevada may not seem like an obvious destination for fugitives running from justice, but it turns out that many corrupt Chinese former officials believe the desert city is an oasis as they try hiding out in the US.

The country’s white-collar fugitives are picking America for its standard of living, the mature legal system and the fact that the US and China don’t have an extradition treaty. 

Nick Wooldridge, a prominent Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, says there is a clear rationale.

“Before their cases are identified, they apply for immigrant status for their families and gain permanent resident status in the US. Then they launder their bribe money and transfer it to America,” says Wooldridge.

 While China is looking for American cooperation in stemming the flow of corrupt officials, officials in China lack confidence in the regime and feel that flight overseas demonstrate nothing but the country’s corruption and moral dissolution.

 Wooldridge says pressure is growing on Beijing to address the problem of corrupt fugitives as part of a bigger fight already responsible for the downfall of thousands of officials.

 “If their leaders are unable to solve this problem,” says Wooldridge, “China’s people may begin to wonder if they can succeed in their fight against corruption.

In some ways, Nevada is shaping up to be ground-zero for the struggle between pro and anti-immigration groups tightening regulations for illegal immigrants in Nevada.


Amicus Brief Filed in Las Vegas

President Obama’s immigration actions would possibly allow millions of immigrants to apply for relief from deportation and could improve the nation’s economy according to civil rights groups who filed an amicus brief in Las Vegas in April. The brief was one of diverse listed in support of Obama’s administration actions which has economists predicting that the nation’s GDP will increase by over the next $200 billion within the next decade.

 Opposing the fight is the Nevada attorney general who has pushed Nevadans into what many observers are calling, an anti-family battle.

 “Nevada stood to gain $21 million under the expanded programs, but if this lawsuit succeeds, the only thing that will be destroyed will be dreams and immigrant families,” said Wooldridge.

Proportionally, Nevada has the highest rate of illegal immigrants in any American state. Over 7.5 percent of the state’s population are illegal immigrants and the number of illegal immigrants nationally is leveling off at just over 11%. The study, by Pew Research Center, looked at US illegal immigrant population trends over a three-year period from 1999 through 2012.

 Clinton Pushes “Full and Equal”

 When Hillary Clinton visited Las Vegas in early May, she marked out her aggressive position on immigration.

 Attempting to build on her strong record with Latino voters, Clinton backs nothing less than what she calls a “full and equal” path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

 Clinton spelled out her views during a roundtable discussion with six undocumented young people in the library at Rancho High School — a school where seven out of ten students are Latino.”

 “This is where I’m different than everyone on the Republican side,” Clinton said.

Sixty-eight percent of Latinos surveyed in 2014 by Latino Decisions said they were likely to support Clinton if she were to support Obama’s executive actions. Fifty-five percent said they are not likely to back her if she opposes the White House’s actions.

The whole illegal immigration and crime issue won’t be resolved until the 2016 election and probably not even then. There may be easy answers to the issue, but the solutions are not simple and can be as slippery as Donald Trump relying on statistics.

Arkady Bukh, Esq
Bukh Law Firm

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