CNN's Cuomo Wrongly Claims Illegal Immigrant Crime Lower Than US Citizens

On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, host Chris Cuomo wrongly suggested that illegal immigrants commit crime at a rate lower than American citizens as he repeated the recurring myth from the left while debating Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

As the two discussed President Donald Trump's address to Congress from last night, the CNN host posed: "Immigration was a big theme last night. The fact basis of the President: I want your take on it. 'Lawless chaos.' You know, Senator, that immigrants in this country -- even illegal ones, undocumented ones -- do not commit crimes at the rate that the rest of the citizenry do. 'Lawless chaos.' Fair appraisal?"

Cuomo's assertion comes in the face of evidence that illegal immigrants commit crimes and are incarcerated at rates substantially higher than their percentage of the population.

After Senator Johnson dismissed Cuomo's concerns and argued in favor of deporting illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes, the CNN host fretted that talk of illegal immigrant crime would alienate Democrats from wanting to cooperate because it creates a "fear dynamic." Cuomo:

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But I'm saying -- the reason I'm bringing it up, to clarify my point for you, is that if you want immigration to be a point of cooperation with Democrats, I think you're going to have to agree on the fact basis of the reality is. And to say that it's "lawless chaos" just isn't born out in the statistics. It creates a fear dynamic, and the Democrats resist that. That's why I'm bringing it up.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, March 1, New Day on CNN:

8:09 a.m. ET
CHRIS CUOMO: Immigration was a big theme last night. The fact basis of the President: I want your take on it. "Lawless chaos." You know, Senator, that immigrants in this country -- even illegal ones, undocumented ones -- do not commit crimes at the rate that the rest of the citizenry do. "Lawless chaos." Fair appraisal?

SENATOR RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Well, first of all, Chris, I'm not sure what your point is. We obviously do have cases -- we're going to hold a hearing today where Americans have been murdered by people who live in this country illegally. Now, there are Americans who are murdered by American citizens as well. I get that point, but the fact is we need to solve our illegal immigration problem. 

The first step is securing our borders and enforcing our laws, and then certainly what the President was talking apparently to broadcasters yesterday is, once we've secured that border, once we've started enforcing our laws, we can take a look at our laws and treat the people here that are working in their communities, not committing crimes, treat those people with real humanity, provide some kind of status for them, I'm all for that. 

I'm all for a robust guest worker program because, first and foremost, that eliminates the number one incentive to come into this country illegally. If you make that a legal process, it's going to be a whole lot easier securing our borders and keeping the bad ones out, and we don't have that revolving door where we've seen time and time again, people who have been deported repeatedly come into this country, they do commit murders, and that's something we have to stop.

CUOMO: But I'm saying -- the reason I'm bringing it up, to clarify my point for you, is that if you want immigration to be a point of cooperation with Democrats, I think you're going to have to agree on the fact basis of the reality is. And to say that it's "lawless chaos" just isn't born out in the statistics. It creates a fear dynamic, and the Democrats resist that. That's why I'm bringing it up.

[JOHNSON]

CUOMO: Well, Republicans have it both ways with the numbers, right? Some of you say that, "Obama was like the 'deporter in chief,' so why don't the Democrats want to deport now?"

JOHNSON: I'm just giving you the facts.

CUOMO: Well, it depends on how you calculate it, right? When you factor in who's turned away at the points of entry, then Obama turns out to be the biggest deporter. I don't think it's a meaningful distinction. I think what you do going forward will be how you're judged. And on that basis, what about the idea of increasing legal immigration, therefore disincentivising illegal immigration?

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters