February 28, 2007

Let's play "Spot the Fallacy:"

In the LA Times:

Immigrants boost pay, not prison populations, new studies show
Immigrants are less likely to go to prison than U.S.-born residents of the same ethnic group and they boost pay for natives, research says.
By Teresa Watanabe

Two new studies by California researchers counter negative perceptions that immigrants increase crime and job competition, showing that they are incarcerated at far lower rates than native-born citizens …

Among men of Mexican descent, for instance, 0.7% of those foreign-born were incarcerated compared to 5.9% of native-born, according to the study, co-written by UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut.

So, why isn't this good news about the long term impact of immigration on crime rates?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Same old problem with race and crime data. Check out this White man in prison in Florida:


Search for any Acevendo or Garcia and look at all the White men who've been naughty:


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

>> So, why isn't this good news about the long term impact of immigration on crime rates? <<

Because it isn't so much the immigrants we have to worry about -- it's their children.

When someone crosses the border and gets a job --picking vegetables, cleaning bathrooms, flipping burgers, ect-- they think, "Wow! Look at how much money I'm making now, compared to what I was getting in Mexico". When their children become adults, they think, "Look at how little my parents make compared to what the gringos make. I'm not going to be a sucker like them", and they decide to do something else. Since most of them don't have the skills to get a job that pays well, many of them turn to crime.

Steve, I think you once wrote about a similar thing happening in the cities starting in the 1960s, when the children of the sharecroppers who moved to the cities came of age. In that case, they were black rather than Mexican.

This may have also happened when the children of Irish immigrants came of age, a hundred years earlier. Back then, many of the gangs were Irish, rather than black or Mexican.

~ Risto

Anonymous said...


Its very suprising to me that even ASIAN incarceration rates for citizens are higher than whites.

Could it be that the aura of prison gangs keep whites from entering a life of crime for fear of the consequences? Its also proof of the concept of human diversity and its tendencies that African immigrants are jailed 8 times as much as Asian immigrants and 4 times as much as white immirganats. It looks to me like the second generation of immigrants begin to show the real differences in personality-types by race. Latinos and blacks have the huge increases as they become citizens and have been influenced by our hip/hop/bling culture.

By the way, this type of article is why I quit reading syndicate (Gannett, etc.) newspapers. For an article to be so wrong, it cannot have been by mistake. Teresa Watanabe was obviously given the assignment "go write a pro-immigration article that counters higher-crime fears" and went and did so. No ethnic group had "high" crime rates in the first generation of immigrants. Since the tag line is all that many will read, they come away with the conclusion that what their lying eyes reveal to them about high levels of immigration must be wrong. I wonder if Teresa Watanabe is a neo-con hack, or just a reporter with a journlalism degree in an age where print media is losing ugly to the net' and forced to crank out lies to keep her job?

Anonymous said...


To be specific search for Acevendo or Garcia as last names and select the specific race category - White.

Anonymous said...

So obviously this population is a time bomb that is waiting to go off, but the press can't see that. Surprise.

And I'm not sure, but would incarceration rates be affected by having a country one can easily flee to when given the chance? I saw where a Nicaraguan molester was released on bail; of course, he did not stick around for the trial. Are illegals denied bail by a system that does not seem to want to know their immigration status, or can they bail out and disappear? Also since Ive seen the illegal population called 10 million and 20 million -- what figure do they use for the illegal population?

MensaRefugee said...

The parents come from a place where if they dont work, they will starve. If they commit a crime, the punishment is swift and severe.

And their attitudes are molded accordingly.

The children are born into a place where if they dont work, they become the darlings of the welfare state. If they commit a crime, they get rent free lodgings among people who are just like them.

And their attitudes are molded accordingly...

Anonymous said...

I think I have spotted the fallacy!

It is the % incarcerated in the U.S in their lifetime and immigrants have been around for less time than natives in the US. As such, they are likely to have a lower incarceration rate (in their lifetime) even if they commit the same amount of crimes as natives.


Anonymous said...

In most of Europe the foreign born prison population vastly exceeds the proportion in the general population, in the Netherlands for example the foreign born make up over 50% of the total prisoner numbers.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please tell the people doing these studies/writing about these studies that it is not "five times lower"? It is "1/5 that of". Grrr.

I wonder if they adjusted for age in this study. (I don't have time to read it.)

Anonymous said...

The Immigration Policy Center, which commissioned one of the studies, is actually a think tank run by the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF). The AILF is itself controlled by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The AILA is one of the main actors that lobbies for open borders, and is funded primarily by donations from the Ford Foundation, which also funds Maldef, and the Open Society Institute, George Soros’ organization.

Most studies you hear about are actually nothing more than an exercise in statistical cherry picking with a dose of public relations added. These studies are then promoted to the media through different channels, where they masquerade as legitimate news stories, when in fact they are meant to influence public opinion. The first question anyone should ask about any study is who paid for it, and what is their agenda?

Anonymous said...

Amen Gary,

When I hear of the Ford foundation, all I can think of is how old man Ford would have hated how a bunch of lefties have gotten in control of the money he left.

Its amazing how liberals always seem to infiltrate and take over foundations in a matter of a couple of decades. I guess its because so many of them are so pitiful at getting and performing real productive jobs.

Pythor said...

Another issue with this data... Minor crimes will get a native put in jail, for various lengths of time. Those same minor crimes will get a non-native deported, and therefore not counted in this data.

Unknown said...

These data also put the lie to the idea that minorities have a higher incarceration rate because police are prejudiced against them.

If anything you would expect the police to be less prejudiced against native born minorities, at least they will speak English well.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is unbelievable how bad the Mainstream press is. The author of the article obviously thinks his readers are stupid and maybe he is right.

MensaRefugee said...

"Its amazing how liberals always seem to infiltrate and take over foundations in a matter of a couple of decades. I guess its because so many of them are so pitiful at getting and performing real productive jobs."

Which is probably why Milton Friedman structured his foundation (on school choice) to expire 5 years after his death.

Anonymous said...


Crime: Hispanics have triple the incarceration rates for most classes of violent crime than do whites. Saying that they are less likely to be incarcerated than members of the same ethnic group is hardly encouraging. Doubly discouraging when you consider that these immigrants will have native-born children. If Hispanic immigrants have lower rates of crime it is likely because many come in past the peak 18-24 year age range that is the peak period for crime among males. We won't be so fortunate with their gangsta' kids. Immigration enthusiasts never take a multigenerational view of immigration's consequences.

Economics: The studies in question likely don't take into account job displacement. Obviously, if you drive natives out of the lower paying jobs, the remaining pool of citizens will reflect only the higher wage jobs that have been retained. The researcher claimed that a more "detailed analysis" revealed no job displacement judging by "California's employment trend." OK. But job loss is bound to drive people to other states.

Finally, there is one other fallacy that likely pervades these studies as it does most others: there is no indication from the article that the studies distinguished legal and illegal immigration.

Anonymous said...

it makes no sense for this site to use "hispanic" and "latino" like they mean anything.

i'm glad the anglo crime wave in los angeles is over, and the 1990s are behind us, becaue it got old hearing about all those anglos killing each other in drive by shootings. but what about all the anglo crime in detroit and new orleans? the anglos are out of control in those cities.

and anglos are ruining the NFL. just last week, yet ANOTHER anglo, tennessee titans player adam jones, got himself into trouble with the law again. these anglos, they are ruining football.

it's long past time to prevent any more english speaking people with english names from coming to america.

Leonard said...

You can get the report at this URL:


Check out figure 9. It turns out that even among immigrants, the incarceration rate goes up the longer they are in the country.

As tommy points out, the data used in the report are for men 18-39. Thus, many or even most immigrants will be past their high-crime years when they immigrate, and thus count in the data as "law abiding" even if they weren't in the place they came from.

Furthermore, all immigrants, even illegals, are selected from a pool which includes no men who are incarcerated when they immigrate. Thus, consider the pool of all immigrants who've been here less than a week: their incarceration rate is almost 0%! Wow!

Anonymous said...

I think we can safely say that's another LA Times article torn to shreds. Next!

Anonymous said...

"Teresa Watanabe was obviously given the assignment "go write a pro-immigration article that counters higher-crime fears" "

No, that's not the way media bias works. It's a lot more subtle. Ms. Watanabe is a reporter, and gets asked to cover an immigration story. She knows that if she writes something her liberal editors dislike, she will be fired. Most likely she wouldn't even have thought of working in journalism if she weren't liberal to begin with; a conservative person with good verbal ability might have gone into law, or perhaps worked in advertising or marketing if she were creatively inclined. So she covers an immigration story, filtered through her own preconceived bias.

The same could be said about conservatives; how come Steve here never finds anything good to say about immigration? Even if, like me, you feel there is too much at the present time, there must be some positive side effects.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Watanabe, a fine Anglo-Saxon name...

Hey, Steve, if I show you my fallacy, will you show me yours?

Anonymous said...

robert hume,
How does this show that police prejudice is not in effect? Seeing as if you are not arrested, you can't be convicted, if there are disproportionate arrest to crimes commited rates then it will come out in the conviction rates.

Let's say 90% of all arrests lead to conviction. If 10% of whites that commit crimes get arrested, but 30% of blacks that commit crimes get arrested, you will see disproportionate conviction rates.

I'm not saying that this is or is not true, but this data does not say anything about police prejudice.

Unknown said...


I'm not comparing whites and hispanics.

I'm comparing immmigrant hispanics to native born hispanics. (Same argument for other races.)

They look the same to the police. So why are the native born hispanics arrested and convicted at a higher rate than the immigrant hispanics?

Well, it isn't because of the way they look, i.e. it's not profiling.

But liberals often claim that the difference in arrest rates between whites and hispanics is due to profiling.

But the data show that there must be a very real, very large, non-profiling effect.

hans gruber said...

On Crime:

*Stock versus flow variable. Percent incarcerated is a poor variable to measure how much crime each group is committing today because natives have been here all along while immigrants have been here for a much shorter period of time on average (they're immigrants!). In short, immigrants may be packing the jails just as fast as natives of the same ethnic group, it's just they haven't had enough time to catch up.

*Underreporting, difficulty in prosecuting. Immigrant groups may be less likely to report crimes committed because of illegal status or simply because reporting a fellow Mexican immigrant to the "gringos" feels like a betrayal, even if one was wronged.

*Age demographics. Crime spikes among young males; many immigrants arrive after this period of life (I've read that the average age is 30 for Mexican immigrants), thus making the comparison somewhat unfair.

*Despite these concerns, I do believe that Mexican immigrants commit less crime than second and even third generation Mexican Americans, even if I suspect it's less of a gap than is commonly reported. Yet, as you point out, any cost-benefit analysis of immigration should consider how well their children are assimilating. Immgrants' children are a result of immigration policy, after all. Concealing this result of immigration by labeling their children "natives" and therefore not part of the immigration debate is intellectually dishonest. They wouldnt' be "natives" if it weren't for the immigration policy in question!

On Pay:

The article states:

"The benefit for native-born workers ranged from a 0.2% wage increase for high school dropouts to 6.7% for those with some college, the study showed.

However, the study found that other immigrants suffered wage declines by as much as 20%."

The majority if immigrants are employed in sectors of the economy like construction, food service, and maintenance. In each of these industries natives constitute a majority fo the work force. It just isn't plausible, then, that immigration only affects immigrant wages negatively, the suggestion of the piece. If immigration causes downward pressure on wages in those areas where they are employed, then large swathes of American workers are negatively affected, even if the claim that low skill Americans *as a group* receive a neglible boost is true.

Glaivester said...

The solution is obvious.

We need a guest-worker program, but we need to require that the guest wokers be spayed or neutered.

Anonymous said...

Steve has commented in the past about immigrants' habits of ethnic cohesion. In other words,they stick together. While many good fine decent God-fearing better-way-of-life-for-their-family type immigrants that liberals love so much may band together ethincally to run a legit business or get financing,expertise,etc,some of the not so wonderful newcomers find it natural and easy to get involved in ethnic/racial gangs that can do some nasty stuff.Thats why our precious "model minority",the Asians,may have higher arrest rates than white Americans. See that clean cut Asian guy driving the Lexus---maybe he stole it! :)

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks, everybody. I should have said, "Spot the fallacies" because you found a lot.


Anonymous said...

But what was the "fallacy" you had in mind?

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Steve. And I didn't even get mine in.

Anonymous said...

The fallacy is to lump the highly disparate black and white populations under the rubric of "native."

In other words, the black crime rate dramatically pulls down the native average, despite the fact that non-blacks make up the majority of natives. (The native black crime rate is incredibly bad.)

The story casts in a negative light John Smith, solid citizen, or his racial family, and correspondingly absolves Jose Himinez, niece-raping gang-banging illegal - by the underhanded statistical device of averaging in the record of Jamal Johnston with that of Smith. This is literally blacking the reputation of American citizens.

The purpose is to facilitate the further eroding of the white stock of America, i.e. the people who built America and for whom its principles in their entirety solely obtain. Who would want to do that?

Wanamaker - nice ""liberal"" name.

Anonymous said...

Vs. "Wantanabe"

Steve Sailer said...

The fallacy I had in mind was that immigration doesn't cause crime problems just because it's the immigrants' sons who commit lots of crimes.

hans gruber said...

All too often the crime figures of immigrants (but not their children or grandchildren) are offered to assuage concerns over immigration growing crime.

The more I think about this, the more the study itself, rather than just the coverage of the study, is intentionally designed to deceive. Once more, take the age bracket they chose to look at, 18-30-something year olds (I doubt they had to use this dataset, they chose to use a misleading dataset and a stock rather than a flow variable). The average immigrant is around 30 years old, so, yes, we would expect the incarceration rate to be half that of natives because they have had half the time to do something stupid and get themselves locked up! This effect is even further exagerated, as previously mentioned, because crime among young men is especially acute. The average immigrant arrives already past the age of peak crime proneness.

I am really rather ambivalent when it comes to whether this is intentional or not. I wouldn't put it past journalists, of course, but at least some of this poor reporting has something to do with what Sailer has talked about before--the unwillingness of otherwise intelligent people to engage and THINK about the issue of immigration (and race). It's as if thinking about this issue and taking it seriously would somehow taint their PC purity; their standing as upstanding would be in jeopardy.

On another note, Sailer, what do you make of Derbyshire's support for Guiliani even though the mayor has a terrible history on immigration.

Anonymous said...

Foreign-born criminals may be less likely to get caught than native-born ones.Typically, when a native-born criminal does something that gets him put in prison, he is already known to the police for some time,whereas a foreign criminal's past is less likely to be known to law enforcement agencies.

Anonymous said...

Some disturbing little tidbits from the article:

Incarceration rates, which rose the longer an immigrant was in the country, were highest among high school dropouts. Those of Asian descent generally showed lower incarceration rates and higher educational levels than Latinos.

Percent incarcerated in U.S., by racial/ethnic group

Foreign-born: 2.5%
U.S.-born: 11.6%

Foreign-born: 1.0%
U.S.-born: 6.7%

Foreign-born: 0.6%
U.S.-born: 1.7%

Foreign-born: 0.3
U.S.-born: 1.9%

Anonymous said...

The LA Times continues to see readership and circulation numbers decline sharply. They're secretly pushing for completely open borders because the new illegal aliens don't know any better than to buy their crap liberal rag-time publications.

Anonymous said...

I don't think these immigrants are buying a lot of newspapers, anon, let alone English language papers

Anonymous said...

Those who blame the high hispanic native born incarceration rate mostly on police/justice system racism and/or racial profiling need to explain the high numbers of those incarcerated for murder as well. Applying that explanation to more than a trivial portion of murder charges requires a conspiracy theory orders of magnitude bigger than the 9-11 conspiracy theory.

Anonymous said...

pjgoober says:

Those who blame the high hispanic native born incarceration rate mostly on police/justice system racism and/or racial profiling need to explain the high numbers of those incarcerated for murder as well. Applying that explanation to more than a trivial portion of murder charges requires a conspiracy theory orders of magnitude bigger than the 9-11 conspiracy theory.

Yeah, but it's racist discrimination and name calling (like "ya wetback") that causes these nice hispanic men to kill, don't ya know?

Just like that case in Knox County, TN where some people of color are accused of raping and killing a young white couple.

Anonymous said...

We have two groups, immigrants and natives.

Let's suppose all immigrants come to America when they are 25 years old.

So, let's take the population of 25 years old Americans, and the population of 25 years old immigrants.

At their arrival, the immigrants won't be in jail. But a proportion of 25 years old Americans will be.

And there will be two populations, within the natives and within the immigrants.

There will be the group in jail, and the group not in jail (the free group).

A portion of each group will stay in the same group, and another portion will move.

The average prisoner stay in federal jails for 54 months, in other words, after one year, 22 % of the population in jail will move to the free population. And 78 % of the jailed population will stay in jail. And while most of the free population will stay free, a part of it will move to jail. And an equilibrium will be established.

The Americans can be said to be in equilibrium.

That is not the case for immigrants. So obviously the population in jail will increase the more they stay in America, until the equilibrium is reached. This isn't a consequence of lower or more crime than natives, but simply a consequence of equilibriums not being reached. Since the initial groups in which natives are placed and in which immigrants are placed is different.

Anonymous said...

Leonard: Check out figure 9. It turns out that even among immigrants, the incarceration rate goes up the longer they are in the country.

Here is Figure 9.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: The LA Times continues to see readership and circulation numbers decline sharply. They're secretly pushing for completely open borders because the new illegal aliens don't know any better than to buy their crap liberal rag-time publications.

The sad fact of the matter is that many [most?] of the Central American Aboriginals can't even read Spanish [or Portuguese], and their IQs are so low that their children are proving to be largely uneducable by the [greater] American school system.

Compare a raft of statistics here:

The Nation's Report Card: 12th-Grade Reading and Mathematics 2005

[Discussion here.]

The LA Times has a real quandary on its hands: The high IQ leftists aren't making any babies, and the low IQ immigrants who are replacing them are [almost necessarily] illiterate & innumerate.

From a purely demographic viewpoint, I don't see that the LA Times has much of future.

[Of course, from the same demographic viewpoint, I don't see that America has much of a future, either...]


Anonymous said...

Harry Writes:
"Some disturbing little tidbits from the article........"

Foreign-born: 0.6%
U.S.-born: 1.7%

Foreign-born: 0.3
U.S.-born: 1.9%"

Part of the explanation for this must be that in each successive asian immigrant generation, the percentage of not-so-successfull asian ethnicities like laotions and cambodians increases, due to higher birthrates than those of successfull asian ethnicities.

Here are some excerpts from some of Ruben G. Rumbauts work in a different context (not such a happy go lucky tone here):

"“The greatest educational disadvantage is found among children of Mexican immigrants and Laotian and Cambodian refugees in our sample – close to 40 percent of whom did not go beyond a high school diploma,” said Rumbaut. "

"The researchers found that children of Laotian and Cambodian Americans as well as Haitian Americans had the lowest median annual household income at just over $25,000. They were followed closely by Mexican American families, which had a median annual household income of about $30,000. On the other end of the spectrum, children of upper-middle-class Cuban exiles in Southern Florida reported a household income of more than $70,000, and Filipino Americans in Southern California had more than $64,000, followed by Chinese immigrants."

"Furthermore, the study found that the most educationally and economically disadvantaged children of immigrants were most likely to have children of their own at a young age, compounding their difficulties at pursuing higher education. When surveyed at the average age of 24, none of the Chinese Americans had children, while in contrast 25 percent of Haitians, West Indians, Laotians and Cambodians did, as did 41 percent of Mexican American young adults."

I'll bet that within each asian ethnicity, criminality does go up by generation, but the differential birthrates between ethnicities must account for a lot of the effect too. In america, the group of ethnicities we call asian has mostly turned out to be a pretty good mix, no doubt from sheer luck rather than US government competance. In Britain, they got a far worse mix of asian ethnicities. The key to a good immigration policy is keeping out high birth rate, high crime, low education, low income ethnicities which can unfortunately be found in most regions of the world.