Citing “government statistics,” Peter Boyles' guest Jason Mrochek repeated several dubious claims regarding purported crimes committed by illegal immigrants, including the debunked assertion that illegal aliens kill “25 Americans every day.”
On the February 14 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show, guest Jason Mrochek repeated numerous dubious statistics regarding the purported criminality of illegal aliens, including the debunked claim that the United States has “25 Americans every day being killed by illegal aliens.” Mrochek further claimed there are “105 sexual predators coming across the border every single day, each of whom is going to have an average of four victims.” According to Mrochek, the data for two of the claims he cited “are our government statistics, not mine” ; he associated them with “a report called 'A Line in the Sand,' and some GAO studies.” However, a Colorado Media Matters review of “A Line in the Sand” and relevant Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies casts doubt on the credibility of his claims.
Mrochek is a co-founder of the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (F.I.R.E.) Coalition, an organization whose website proclaims that it “represent[s] federal, state, and local interests in stopping the flood of illegal immigration and promoting reasonable policies for limited, controlled legal immigration.”
From the February 14 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:
MROCHEK: We have been in South Korea since the '50s --
MROCHEK: -- and we have closed off their border.
BOYLES: It's called the DMZ.
MROCHEK: Yeah, the Demilitarized Zone. Yet we are not willing to do the same here, when we have 25 Americans every day being killed by illegal aliens, and we have 105 sexual predators coming across the border every single day, each of whom is going to have an average of four victims. These are our government statistics, not mine. They released a report called “A Line in the Sand,” and some GAO studies with these statistics. And yet we won't do anything on our own borders.
MROCHEK: You pick the facet of our life, and I'll tell you how it's affected by illegal --
BOYLES: Me too.
MROCHEK: -- immigration.
MROCHEK: It's ridiculous. From crime, you know, you talk about reading the L.A. papers -- 95 percent of our outstanding murder warrants are for illegal aliens, and that's coming to a city near you.
All three of Mrochek's claims regarding the number of Americans “killed by illegal aliens,” the number of sexual predators “coming across the border,” and the number of “outstanding murder warrants” for illegal immigrants in Los Angeles either lack credible substantiation or are based on calculations performed on misrepresented underlying data, or both.
1. "[W]e have 105 sexual predators coming across the border every single day"
Mrochek's claim that “we have 105 sexual predators coming across the border every single day, each of whom is going to have an average of four victims” can indeed be found in the report he cited, “A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border.” Released in 2006, the report was produced by the then-Republican majority staff of the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Investigations at the direction of its then-Chairman, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).
A section of the report titled “Illegal Alien Crimes Against U.S. Citizens” cites “a 12 month in-depth study” conducted by “The Violent Crimes Institute.” The footnotes reveal the study to be an article titled “The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committee (sic) by Illegal Immigrants in the United States,” by Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D. The website for the Violent Crimes Institute gives no indication of any personnel associated with the institute other than Schurman-Kauflin, whose expertise as indicated by the website is not that of a statistician but of a criminal profiler. The website gives no information about her academic training, such as where she earned her doctoral degree or in what academic field.
In a preface to her article on her website, Schurman-Kauflin acknowledged:
Please note: This study of illegal immigrants who committed sex crimes in the U.S. was NOT funded by anyone or any group. As a working profiler, I wondered what the statistics were regarding these crimes. I could not find any studies that discussed these offenses and the profile of the offenders, so I did the research myself. Additionally, I was not paid for publishing the results.
Schurman-Kauflin's lack of qualification seems apparent from the study, the major findings of which were repeated in the Congressional report:
The Violent Crimes Institute conducted a 12 month in-depth study of illegal immigrants who committed sex crimes and murders for the time period of January 1999 through April 2006. This study makes it clear that the U.S. faces a dangerous threat from sexual predators that cross the U.S. borders illegally. 91
The Institute analyzed 1,500 cases in depth, including serial rapes, serial murders, sexual homicides, and child molestation committed by illegal immigrants. Police reports, public records, interviews with police, and media accounts were all included. Offenders were located in thirty-six states, with the most of the offenders were located in States with the highest numbers of illegal immigrants. California was ranked first, followed by Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, and Florida. 92
Based on an estimated illegal immigrant population of 12,000,000 and the fact that young males make up more of this population than the general U.S. population, the Institute concluded that sex offenders in the illegal immigrant group make up a higher percentage. ICE reports and public records show sex offenders comprising 2% of illegals apprehended. Based on this 2% figure, which is conservative, the Institute estimates that there are approximately 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States. 93
The study concluded, when applied to ongoing illegal immigration at the borders, these estimates translate to 93 sex offenders and twelve serial sexual offenders coming across U.S. borders illegally per day. The 1,500 offenders in this study had a total of 5,999 victims. Each sex offender averaged four victims. This puts the estimate for victimization numbers around 960,000 for the 88 months examined in this study.94
Based on her article, Schurman-Kauflin apparently performed the following calculation:
(Estimated illegal immigrant population in the U.S.)
(Estimated proportion of apprehended illegal immigrants who were apprehended for sex offenses)
(Illegal immigrant sex offenders in the U.S.)
While it may be true that sex offenders represent 2 percent of illegal immigrants apprehended in the United States, apprehended illegal immigrants constitute only a slim minority of the estimated total illegal immigrant population of 12,000,000. The most recent GAO data on illegal immigrants incarcerated at the federal, state, and local levels puts the total at approximately 270,000. If 2 percent of this population consists of sex offenders, then the total number of sex offenders would be 5,400.
Neither the “A Line in the Sand” report nor its source document gives any indication how the apparently inflated number of illegal immigrant sex offenders corresponds with the “105 sexual predators” figure beyond making the assertion that the unsubstantiated data “translates to 93 sex offenders and 12 serial sexual offenders coming across U.S. borders illegally per day.” From Schurman-Kauflin's article, footnoted in “A Line in the Sand” :
Based on population numbers of 12,000,000 illegal immigrants and the fact that young males make up more of this population than the general U.S. population, sex offenders in the illegal immigrant group make up a higher percentage. When examining ICE reports and public records, it is consistent to find sex offenders comprising 2% of illegals apprehended. Based on this 2% figure, which is conservative, there are approximately 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States.
This translates to 93 sex offenders and 12 serial sexual offenders coming across U.S. borders illegally per day. The 1500 offenders in this study had a total of 5,999 victims. Each sex offender averaged 4 victims. This places the estimate for victimization numbers around 960,000 for the 88 months examined in this study.
2. "[W]e have 25 Americans every day being killed by illegal aliens"
Colorado Media Matters has noted (here and here) that Boyles and a number of his guests have repeated Mrochek's dubious statistic that “we have 25 Americans every day being killed by illegal aliens.” The figure appears to have originated with U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who in May 2006 claimed in at least two speeches and a press release that illegal immigrants murder 12 Americans each day and kill 13 each day as a result of drunken driving accidents, for a total of 25 deaths per day attributable to illegal immigrants.
King misleadingly “extrapolated” figures from an April 2005 GAO study to formulate the questionable statistic regarding the number of deaths caused by illegal immigrants. The GAO report itself makes no such claim. The study shows that “noncitizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally” comprise approximately 27 percent of the United States federal prison population.
As Colorado Media Matters previously noted, King's figures are dubious because he generalized the GAO study's 27 percent figure despite the fact that it reported accurate numbers only for the federal prison population, which comprises less than 10 percent of the U.S. prison population, and not for state or local prison populations. Furthermore, like King, Mrochek attributed the figure to “illegal” immigrants, whereas the GAO study reported the percentage of federal prisoners who were “noncitizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally.”
3. “95 percent of our outstanding murder warrants are for illegal aliens”
During his October 20, 2006, broadcast, Boyles himself cited the faulty statistic, repeated by Mrochek on February 14, that "[i]n Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide target illegals." As Colorado Media Matters has noted, this statistic appeared in an article by Heather Mac Donald on the website of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies. Conservative columnist Linda Chavez has challenged the statistic:
I've been tracking this particular factoid for a while, since it crops up over and over again, and I've even exchanged e-mails with the source, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute. In 2004, Mac Donald wrote an article for the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, “The Illegal Alien Crime Wave,” in which she first used this statistic.
The problem is, the Los Angeles Police Department doesn't collect information on the immigration status of criminals, much less suspects, so there is no database of how many illegal aliens are wanted on outstanding homicide warrants. When I asked Mac Donald to provide her source, she said, “The LAPD fugitive warrants section gave me that figure.” I don't doubt Mac Donald's word -- she is an old friend. Someone, Mac Donald won't say who, undoubtedly gave her this misinformation. But several calls to the LAPD elicited the same response: We don't collect such information -- which was borne out by searching all available databases and talking to respected criminologists.