For Immediate Release
Stop O'Reilly's Immigrant Crime Slurs
Blaming immigrants for nonexistent Arizona crime wave
has repeatedly singled out one reason to support Arizona's draconian
new immigration law: the state's exploding crime rate. But there is no
documented crime wave in Arizona, and O'Reilly's attempt to link
immigrants to crime is equally unfounded.
O'Reilly's record of overheated rhetoric is
"Arizona had to do something. In the capital city, Phoenix, crime's out
of control. For example, last year, New York City, with six times as
many residents as Phoenix, had just 16,000 more reported crimes."
"The Arizona authorities say we're desperate. We don't have the money.
Our crime problem is through the roof. Phoenix one of the most dangerous
cities in the country. We got to do something."
"So the state of Arizona faced with an overwhelming crime problem,
social chaos and a bankrupt treasury had to do something."
"Arizona's bankrupt. The crime's through the roof. Phoenix is the
kidnapping capital of the United States now."
"Arizona's already won the war of public opinion.... Americans
understand, look, here's a state where the federal government will not
do its job. The state has 500,000 illegal aliens. It's bankrupt. Phoenix
is the kidnapping capital of the United States. Crime is through the
roof. Drugs are coming across the border all the time. So what do you
expect Arizona to do?"
In reality, there is no rising crime rate in Arizona (AP, 5/10/10; CNN,
4/29/10). The same is true of Phoenix-despite the oft-repeated (and
thinly sourced) description of the city as a kidnapping haven. The city
of Phoenix reported that crime in 2009 was at its lowest rate in 15
years, and violent crime had dropped 18 percent from 2008. Mayor Phil
Gordon told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee (4/20/09) that "crime is actually down, in every category."
What's more, there is no evidence linking immigrants (documented or
undocumented) to increases in crime, in Arizona or anywhere else. In
fact, much of the research indicates the opposite-that immigrants commit
crime at a lower rate than the population at large (Immigration Policy
As for the state being "bankrupt," Arizona does face budget
shortfalls-along with some 46 other states (CBPP, 2/25/10).
Thanks to people like Bill O'Reilly, laws like Arizona's SB 1070 are
discussed in a media environment of fear-mongering and bigotry.
Stand up and demand that O'Reilly show his evidence-or retract his
FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.