The San Francisco waterfront killing of Katherine Steinle was a horrible tragedy, but the involvement of one undocumented immigrant, along with other such isolated incidents, is being politicized and manipulated by anti-immigrant organizations and racist politicians such as Donald Trump.
The failures and shortcomings of the criminal justice system should be corrected, but we cannot allow tragedies to be used by extremist people and organizations to promote hate and racism. Undocumented children and families have suffered enough, having escaped the violence from their home countries. Many have been raped or have seen their loved ones die trying to reach the United States.
The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are tireless and law-abiding, and mostly work as “cheap labor” as farmworkers, domestic help, and in the restaurant and construction industries. US businesses, corporations, and individuals make huge profits from cheap labor instead of paying immigrants equitably. Yet, it is precisely these businesses, corporations, and individuals who have become the worst enemy of the undocumented by pushing harsher immigration policies.
In the same breath, one must say that the immigrant community expects no exceptions or favored status but only the same fair and honest treatment entitled to all residents of the United States, including family and community security and “due process” for all.
For those interested in facts and statistics, a range of studies including from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), show that there is no evidence that immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans and that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants do not fit in the category of Trump’s description of aggravated felons whose crimes include murder and drugs. Immigrants generally have a stronger incentive than native-born Americans to stay out of legal trouble — especially undocumented immigrants who risk deportation. And those who pursue legal status in the United States are required to pass a criminal background check.
Trump and anti-immigrant organizations are scapegoating undocumented immigrants for the criminal woes of this country. But undocumented immigrants are not the cause of crime and drugs in America. America is the cause of crime and drugs in America.