OK, The Data Shows That Donald Trump Is Correct. Now What? Do Facts Matter At All Any More?



The topics are honesty, responsibility, objectivity and accountability, ladies and gentlemen. Also intentional deception by those you trust to keep you sufficiently informed to be a competent citizen of a democracy.

The United States Sentencing Commission has released showing that almost three-quarters of the more than 2,200 people who received federal sentences for drug possession in fiscal year 2014 were illegal immigrants. Moreover, illegal immigrants were more than one-third of all federal sentences for all crimes.

On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera angrily insisted that illegal immigrants committed fewer crimes proportionate to their numbers than legal citizens. I have seen this same claim on various leftish blogs. I assumed it was baloney, and sure enough, it is. They were talking about legal immigrants, you see. Does it make my day to see this dishonest confounding of legal and illegal immigration trapping its proponents?


Of course, this didn’t stop the news media and craven Republicans, as well as shameless pro-open border Democrats like Hillary Clinton, from piling on Trump and calling him a racist, because he quite accurately and fairly (also clumsily and in needlessly provocative fashion) describe the current state of illegal immigration in the United States.

Illegal immigrants accounted for 36.7%  of all federal sentencings in 2014, though they only represent an estimated 3.5 percent of the U.S population. The data shows that this includes 20% of the kidnapping and hostage-taking sentences, 12% of the murder sentences, and a frightening 19.4% of national-defense related sentences. You can review the statistics here.

The Washington Examiner  reported this data. Why aren’t the major news sources—the Examiner is a conservative outfit that is to the Washington Post what the Toledo Mudhens are to the New York Yankees—revealing these rather relevant facts while their op-ed writers and cartoonists, like the Post’s execrable Tom Toles, call Donald Trump vile names for truthfully informing the public about the consequences of illegal immigration? If there is another explanation other than a desire to paint Republicans as anti-immigrant bigots at the price of willfully misrepresenting  unpleasant facts, I’d like to hear it.Are Democrats, illegal immigration advocates, progressive pundits and “objective” journalists going to continue to mislead the public and misrepresent the facts? Will the public allow them to do this without imposing severe consequences? Will the Republican leadership neglect its duty, and choose to bash Trump instead of forcing the nation to deal honestly with illegal immigration–because of all those Hispanic voters who will supposedly vote against any politicians that argue for responsible policies based on reality and the rule of law rather than progressive mythology?

I find Donald Trump revolting and reprehensible in every possible way. But who is more reprehensible now? What does it say about the culture, the nation, the public and its leaders that only an arrogant, rich egomaniac has the guts to tell the truth about a subject as important as illegal immigration…and that he is attacked as a racist when he does?


Pointer: Jonathan Turley

46 thoughts on “OK, The Data Shows That Donald Trump Is Correct. Now What? Do Facts Matter At All Any More?

  1. I am glad to see that you focus on the message, while others are concentrating on killing the messenger. I hope Trump up more topics to encourage real open discussions among all candidates so that we can have a better chance of selecting the best candidate to become president. I know your columns will be helpful.

  2. It says that we faced this problem 20+ years ago in California and surrounding states and the courts in their wisdom enjoined us from doing anything about it then. It also says that some of us knew then what’s happening now, that eventually the number of immigrants, legal and illegal alike, would eventually become so great that it would a) be impossible to reverse and b) overtax the system. It also says that folks on both sides prefer a porous border, but for different reasons. It’s already well-established that those on the left see the incoming population as one they can build a permanent Democratic majority upon by welcoming them and giving them enough benefits to make life here better than it was where they came from. It’s not as well-known that plenty on the right also prefer having a pool of relatively unskilled, scared, poor folks that they can use for cheap labor.

    Donald Trump is only in a position to tell the blunt truth because no one can touch him because of his wealth and power. Elected officials on either side can’t tell the blunt truth at the risk of being hounded out of office if conservative or having their own party turn on them if liberal. Those in the media can be scoffed at and attacked if conservative, or pushed out of plum assignments if liberal.

    It also says that racism, or any kind of hatred, has taken on a “scarlet letter” quality worse than that of being accused of being a Communist 60 years ago. Let’s also not forget that Joe McCarthy was only stopped because the liberal (but at least possessed of some kind of integrity) Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly made it their mission to bring him down. There is no one of comparable stature now in the news media who can or will stand up and say “this is enough, no more, the truth needs to come out.” This is partly because of the inherently liberal culture of the news media outside of Fox and the Wall Street Journal, and partly because the mainstream news media has had a coffee break of seven years’ duration under Obama, where all they do is print press releases, rehash the administration’s position, and occasionally attack its foes with a cheap sneer or jeer. I don’t think I’d be too far off the mark if I said that I think a lot of them would like four or even eight more years of this relatively easy existence, and, if a permanent Democratic majority emerges, then so much the better.

    • As usual, I think your view of humanity is way too dark. Hanlon’s Razor applies…these aren’t evil people, they are ignorant, silly, intellectually lazy and cowardly ones. And they can be helped with leadership. There are leaders out there. It doesn’t help, ever, to just bemoan the fates and say all is lost. All is never lost.

      • Speaking of helping people with leadership, I don’t mean to be a pest, but did you get my email from Sunday night?

        I think it would help people on the path to being more ethical, responsible, and rational if they were to learn different mindsets by attending local workshops in hobbies and ordinary skills that they wouldn’t otherwise find useful. By paying attention to the mindset behind the hobby or skill, people can develop their minds to the point that they can grasp more sophisticated life skills and character traits such as ethics. It might be an oblique connection, but the workshops might be the necessary foundation for well-rounded members of society, provided the skills are put in their proper context.

        For instance, a person might attend a workshop on building model railroads. Regardless of whether they intend to use that particular skill, the workshop is intended to teach the mindset of institution, combining synthesis and strategy. Institution is about world-building: imagining and designing a complex system that is durable and sustainable.

        Does this approach sound plausible? It’s honestly the best plan I’ve had yet, but I’m definitely open to criticism since I want to fix as many flaws as possible before I attempt anything.

      • I think you are wrong. They aren’t ignorant or intellectually lazy. They are true believers. They cling to lies and willfully refute the truth of the matter. This may not be evil, but functionally, it works out the same.

  3. As long as the Left believes that it can import aliens into this country, make citizens of them through amnesty (or voter fraud) and use them as a voting bloc to found an unshakable rule over these states, they will stoop to any measures to keep it going. I’d say they’re getting really worried about Trump’s campaign right now. Since the murders in San Francisco and Laredo, a burgeoning movement has (at last) been calling for sanctions against the already illegal system of “sanctuary cities”. This must also be sobering for the Democrats and their allies. These places are vital to their agenda. Look for an upsurge of vilification against Trump and any candidate (like Cruz) who agrees with him. If I were Trump, I’d also be taking some enhanced personal security measures. The next year may well decide if this country will be anything a decent person would want to live in.

    • The only option is to vilify them back a thousand fold. We need to say that Left=traitor. We need to denounce and vilify people who have even one leftist viewpoint.

      It is true that under our nation’s history and tradition, leftist viewpoints are protected. But we are no longer bound by history and tradition when determining the scope of our fundamental rights. We are allowed to have new dimensions of freedom. I wonder what “new dimensions of freedom” will be apparent to us in this context.

      • That map is all over the internet now, FM! Ironically, they failed to mark Houston, which is definitely one. With the city elections coming up this November and a crowded race for the top spot (Mayor “Butch” Parker is term limited out) I expect to shortly see that policy as a major topic of debate.

  4. Hopefully the sanctuary city policy will go down the drain very soon. I don’t Obama was said one word about the murder of the young woman in San Francisco. Go figure! Neither has the current California Governor who is an ex-Jesuit. No wonder so many California residents and businesses are leaving the state.

  5. The fact is, illegal aliens chose to become enemies of the United States of America.

    This threat should be eliminated by the U.S. military. And the military, who swore to defend our country from all enemies, foreign and domestic, should take action against these enemies on their own initiative; they should not have to wait for the President to give them the order. And they should start by occupying these sanctuary cities, suspending civil authority, and then going block by block, house by house, to root out the threat. No one would dare lift a hand against soldiers bearing the most powerful weapons and operating as a unified, disciplined force.

    Remember, for the military, their first oath is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, an oath that takes precedence over obeying orders from their commander-in-chief. And illegal aliens are in fact and truth enemies.

  6. The statistics, while interesting, don’t really say anything. I looked at the data, I didn’t see on the table where they broke down the legal v. illegal immigration status based on the offender? All I saw was citizen v. noncitizen, though granted it was a quick look.

    As for the actual offender data, I think it is important to note that these are *federal* offenses. Especially when it comes to simple possession, the immediate scenario that comes to mind is that many offenders are being picked up on immigration violations, have some marijuana on them, and are also booked for possession. The feds dont normally go after people for possession primarily. A person should look at state statistics to get a better sense of that category.

    I do think the fact that these are federal crimes, rather crimes overall does widely skew the entire endeavor, almost to the point of worthlessness. Immigrants get picked up for immigration related offenses, and then get additional offenses tacked on. The population available for such offenses is not a random sampling of the general population, so of course immigrants would be overrepresented, which seems obvious when thinking about it for a minute. Data from the states would be an interesting comparison to the federal data.

    • Wow. That’s some spin, deery.
      Well, you can start by reading the Examiner article. Turley checked the sources, and found that they check out. I agree that looking through the table is a chore, but you can’t skim it and say the data isn’t there.
      Of COURSE illegals break a disproportionate number of laws. They are here by breaking a law—every one of them has already shown disrespect for our laws. Not a single one can say “I am law-abiding.” Moreover, since they are underground, it is likely that the statistics understate the lawbreaking going on.

      So let’s see, you want to discount the facts on the grounds that 1) illegals just happen to break federal laws, and this says nothing about their proclivity to break laws generally; 2) the Feds punish border-jumping Mexicans and others more than they do citizens who break the same laws, so the proportion is deceiving, and 3) you couldn’t read the chart.

      Except none of that relates to the post. Trump said that illegal commit a lot of drug crimes and crimes generally. Whether they commit 20%, 30% or 1%, they obviously do—his statement didn’t talk about percentages at all, because he can only shoot from the hip, and is an idiot. But he was still right, and there isn’t a thing racist about saying “Mexicans are coming here who should be here are are breaking laws.” Spin all you want, the government’s own data backs that up. Of course it does.

      Nobody has to apologize to Trump; I don’t care about him, and he was trying to cause a controversy. Anyone supporting any policies that encourage border-hopping illegally by denying that illegals break laws, however, or confusing illegals with law-abiding immigrants, or accusing truth-telling politicians of being racist for basing their policy views on facts—that is, most Democrats, progressives and illegal immigrant advocates as well as too many “journalists,” owe the nation an apology. Illegal immigration is wrong, and should not be tolerated. Any immigration “reform” that sends any other message is not just unethical but suicidal.

      • I’ve read the chart. It still has no breakdown between legal and illegal immigrants that I can see (table 9 is where I assume the data comes from). I’m willing to hop out for the possibility that it is buried in there somewhere, but I think the more probable explanation is that the journalist irresponsibly conflated all immigrants with illegal immigrants. He doesn’t break out the numbers the way he should.

        As to your other point, I dont think you understand. The feds are in charge of enforcing immigration policy, the states are not. So of course they will be arresting more illegal immigrants; its baked into the cake, so to speak. When they arrest them for immigration violations, they can and will be often charged with ancillary crimes (it goes the other way too, of course). Just that simple fact skews the whole thing from the beginning, almost to the point of a tautology.

        I’m not in favor of unchecked and illegal immigration, but I also don’t like stupid statistics like these, which don’t really show what they are purporting to show. I wish the journalist would have taken the time to thoughtfully analyze those numbers, rather than breathlessly reporting them as if they were significant.

        • The statistics prove that Trump is right: illegal immigrants commit crimes. Lots of them, unless you want to argue that the government sentences innocent illegals to prison for something other than their wetback* status. That’s the point of the post, and that is undeniable. Arguing about exactly how the figures break down—if those who claim immigrants are less likely to commit crimes are right, then illegals are driving that crime wave. All Trump said was that people who don’t belong here and that Democrats are INVITING IN are bringing drugs and crime. It’s true. Are pols and the media going to keep lying about that, or not? The nuances of teh data and methodology? I could not care less, literally. Until you produce data that proves that no criminals come across the border, this is just deflection.

          As “the journalist,” do you mean Turley, who is a law professor, or the Examiner’s writer? I agree with the latter, but the Examiner is at least raising the issue. Where is the Times? Where is Univision?

          * I have no issue with using this term for an illegal Mexican immigrant. It is a slur when used for all Mexican Americans, unfairly implying that all Mexican immigrants are illegal. I have no respect, and owe no show of any, to those who come here by breaking our laws.

          • I thought the whole post of the Examiner article, and your subsequent post on it, was to show that illegals are committing crimes, in many cases disproportionately so, and using the Sentencing Commision statistics to buttress the argument. Statements like this: The United States Sentencing Commission has released showing that almost three-quarters of the more than 2,200 people who received federal sentences for drug possession in fiscal year 2014 were illegal immigrants. Moreover, illegal immigrants were more than one-third of all federal sentences for all crimes. makes me think this was the case.

            However looking at the data provided shows no such thing, as there is no reference at all to illegal immigration. We have no way of knowing whether these statistics are about illegals or not. Everything after that is just dross.

            We can agree that illegal immigration should be stopped. I just am unable to use this data to buttress the argument for that. The Examiner seems to have conflated the statistics, my guess deliberately so. It would be dishonest to try to use this as a point in any argument against illegal immigration for that reason. It is throwing out crap statistics like this that makes us all dumber, no matter where we stand on a given subject.

      • In the website you linked to, Turley says that he cannot locate the specific numbers on illegal immigrants, only the breakdown according to citizenship. I too am curious about the Examiner’s source.

        I also find the data to be a bit strange. It is well-known that blacks are represented in the prison population disproportionately to their percentage of the general population. However, according to the data provided, Hispanics are sentenced more often than blacks, even after immigration offences are subtracted from the Hispanic total. There may be a good explanation for this discrepancy (maybe Hispanics get shorter sentences), but it also may indicate some bias towards federal sentencing of Hispanics (perhaps for the reason provided by deery, i.e. that the Feds are looking for illegal immigrants and are more likely to find Hispanics, illegal or not, committing other crimes as well).

        Hispanics are also highly overrepresented in statistics for drug crimes. I think this should not be surprising, given that drug smugglers from Mexico are should be arrested by the Feds crossing the border. I’m not an expert in American law of federalism, but would the statistics provided likely include drug dealers and users who receive (or produce) the drug within state borders and only distribute it or use it within those borders, or would they be sentenced under state law?

  7. What part of “illegal” is difficult to understand? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the illegal aliens who cross the border break the law and, thus, are criminals. Any other statistic is pointless obfuscation.

    • Nope. Those seeking political asylum enter extra-legally, but do not break the law. Refugees are allowed to cross borders without documentation.

      I have no idea what proportion that is, but I suspect a tiny minority in the USA’s case, Just being pedantic.

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