Sen. Murphy Claims Immigrant Neighborhoods Safer: Fact or Fiction?


This week, Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy contended on the Senate floor that you’re “statistically safer” in an immigrant neighborhood since immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans.

“Whether you choose to want to believe the facts or not, that is not my decision, it’s your decision,” the senator from Connecticut said. “But immigrants commit crimes in this country at a rate lower than natural-born citizens. You may not believe that … but I hate to tell you, it is the truth.”

His comments came not just amid President Joe Biden’s ongoing border situation but ahead of Senate Republicans’ second attempt this year to pass a bipartisan border security bill to address what Murphy called a “fake ‘immigrant crime wave’” designed to “breed fear and resentment of immigrants.” The bill failed.

What should we make of Murphy’s address? The idea that immigrants are more law-abiding than native-born Americans is a recurrent argument posed by Democrats and libertarians whenever Republican lawmakers attempt to address the border or raise concerns about illegal immigration. But since Murphy — who arguably has never lived in an immigrant neighborhood — presented this argument, it warrants discussion.

The first issue is conflating legal and illegal immigrants. Setting aside the debate on whether to adjust the number of legal immigrants or whether legal immigration benefits the country, it’s undeniable that 100 percent of illegal immigrants commit crimes. Every illegal immigrant commits a crime by crossing the U.S.–Mexico border unlawfully. Even those claiming asylum do so amid formal removal proceedings because their entry is illegal, and their deportation process begins upon arrest. Adjudicating asylum claims is part of this process, not an exemption from it.

The Biden administration has found ways to ignore or bypass U.S. immigration law, but it remains illegal to enter the country except through a port of entry. Entering between ports of entry constitutes a crime.

Why does this matter? Because studies often cited by Democrats, like Murphy, and organizations like the CATO Institute, do not differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants, skewing the data and suggesting that all immigrants are more law-abiding than American citizens. For instance, a 2023 Stanford study concluded that since 1960, immigrants have been less likely to be incarcerated than those born in the U.S. and have not committed more crimes than native-born people since 1870.

Interestingly, the Stanford study also found that since 2005, Mexican and Central American immigrants have higher incarceration rates compared to native-born Americans. This discrepancy arises because U.S. Census data did not distinguish between criminal acts and immigration-related offenses. (Data suggests illegal immigrants commit crimes at a higher rate than both legal immigrants and native-born citizens.)

But assuming, for argument’s sake, that Murphy is correct and that immigrants—both legal and illegal—commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, should that justify inaction in the face of mass illegal immigration? Approximately 10 million foreign nationals have illegally entered the country since Biden took office. This influx, regardless of the individuals’ criminal histories, will alter America for generations to come.

Why is this problematic? American voters were never consulted on this significant demographic shift. It happened partly because Democrats aim to form a new majority coalition to maintain power, sensing a decline in support from traditional voting blocs like black, Hispanic, and white working-class voters.

Furthermore, mass illegal immigration undermines national coherence. America is more than an idea; it is a nation with distinct culture, language, customs, and traditions. Most Americans wish to preserve these aspects for future generations. An influx of millions of foreigners disrupts this, changing the nation’s character abruptly. Objecting to this is not racist but patriotic, asserting the right to end illegal immigration and ensure that legal immigration benefits the American people.

Given this perspective, the crime rates among immigrants become irrelevant. Even if every illegal immigrant were professionally skilled and hardworking, we cannot allow unrestricted immigration if we wish to maintain national integrity. Therefore, when politicians like Murphy argue that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, the response should be: I don’t care. I’m an American. This is my country. Close the border.

John Daniel Davidson
John Daniel Davidson
Senior Editor. John's writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is the author of Pagan America: the Decline of Christianity and the Dark Age to Come.

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