CNN Misleads on Illegal Immigrant Crime Rate While Highlighting Victim

On Sunday afternoon, CNN Newsroom twice ran a report filed by correspondent Sara Sidner in which she focused on Jamiel Shaw, Sr., a man whose son was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had not been handed over to ICE for deportation despite a previous violent criminal record.

At about 3:35 p.m ET, after recalling Shaw's story and President Donald Trump enacting some of Shaw's ideas, Sidner ended up pushing to undermine his concerns about illegal immigrants by misleadingly citing studies finding that immigrants generally are less likely to commit crimes than the native-born population, But she did not mention studies specifically about illegal immigrants which find that they are substantially more likely to commit crimes than the general population.

After the report recalled that President Trump was creating a division in the Homeland Security Department to deal with victims of crime by immigrants, leading to boos from Democrats, Sidner showed a clip of Shaw complaining that their behavior was an "insult" and that President Barack Obama had spent tax dollars to help illegal immigrant children called "Dreamers."

Shaw was then seen complaining: "The Dreamer murdered my son. He was brought here by no fault of his own, you know, he grew up to be 19, and he murdered somebody. So you can't just say blanket that all Dreamers are good people."

Sidner followed up: "But critics of Trump's immigration stance say his focus is misplaced, pointing to several studies listed by the CATO Institute all showing 'immigrants are less crime-prone than' those who are native-born."

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The CNN correspondent repeated crime statistics on immigrants generally without noting that the numbers are different for the illegal population specifically as she concluded her report:

One of those studies looking at census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000, showed that immigrants as a whole have incarceration rates that are one-fifth those of native-born Americans. But Mr. Shaw says statistics wouldn't matter to you if it was your child that was killed. The man who killed his child was sentenced to death and is serving time in San Quentin prison here in California.

The same piece ran a few hours later on CNN Newsroom with Pamela Brown:

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Sunday, March 5, CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield:

CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield
March 5, 2017
3:35 p.m. Eastern

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: So immigration and border security are a top priority of the Trump administration. The President vowing to increase security and build a border wall as well as deport undocumented immigrants, especially those who break the law. The President's crackdown is getting the support of a man whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant. CNN's Sara Sidner has the story.

SARA SIDNER: Donald Trump made Jamiel Shaw Sr. a promise. Has Mr. Trump as President kept his promise?

JAMIEL SHAW SR., FATHER OF MURDER VICTIM: Yes. He told me my son's life would not be in vain.

SIDNER: Mr. Trump promised that if he became President that he'd do whatever he could to keep other families from experiencing what the Shaws did. How did you find out that your son had been shot?

SHAW: I heard it. I heard the gunshots, and I just knew. All of a sudden: Pow, pow! I remember saying, "Damn!"

SIDNER: In 2008, Shaw's eldest son, Jamiel Jr., a stand-out high school running back preparing for college, was shot to death execution-style by 19-year-old Pedro Espinoza, who had just been released from jail a day earlier, on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. But the city did not hand him over to immigration authorities then. Who do you blame other than the actual person who killed your son for the death of your son?

SHAW: Anybody who supports sanctuary cities. Three gun charges, stabbed people, I mean, he was just Satan's disciple, and illegally in the country and gang database. Come on, man, do your damn job. All you have to do was just get him out of here.

SIDNER: Shaw has been fighting ever since to get Jamiel's law passed that targets undocumented immigrants who join gangs. Fast forward to 2015, and Shaw got a chance to hand his proposal to then-candidate Donald Trump.Then, in President Trump's joint address to Congress, he recognized Shaw and offered this:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (from speech to Congress): I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE -- Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

[Democrats in the audience can be heard booing.]

SIDNER Some Democrats groaned and booed the new office.

SHAW: I took it as an insult. Why wouldn't that be a good idea to have a department set up for those people?

SIDNER: Who are victims.

SHAW: Obama -- for victims -- Obama was using that same money for the DACA people.

SIDNER: What do you think about the Dreamer program?

SHAW: The Dreamer murdered my son. He was brought here by no fault of his own, you know, he grew up to be 19, and he murdered somebody. So you can't just say blanket that all Dreamers are good people.

SIDNER But critics of Trump's immigration stance say his focus is misplaced, pointing to several studies listed by the CATO Institute all showing "immigrants are less crime-prone than" those who are native-born.

SHAW: What do I care about statistics? My son is in a cemetery. I'm not saying all illegals are doing that, but we got enough trouble with Americans, and you're gonna import more.

SIDNER: One of those studies looking at census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000, showed that immigrants as a whole have incarceration rates that are one-fifth those of native-born Americans. But Mr. Shaw says statistics wouldn't matter to you if it was your child that was killed. The man who killed his child was sentenced to death and is serving time in San Quentin prison here in California. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters