Ali Noorani Takes on Tucker Carlson on Immigration

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, took on Tucker Carlson on his show Tucker Carlson Tonight on December 21, 2017. Tucker presented Ali with some results from a new study released by the US Sentencing Commission on incarcerated aliens in DOJ custody, showing that about  one-in-five persons in the federal Bureau of Prisons custody were foreign born and unlawfully present. Noorani responded “it suggests to me that our immigration system is fundamentally broken, and we need to make sure that those individuals who are here who are undocumented, are registering for legal status, passing a criminal background check, learning English, and coming out of the shadows.” 

Noorani pointed out that the way to fix the problem is “to make sure you have a functioning legal immigration system and a process for people to go through” that meets U.S. needs given the size of the country and its dynamic workforce. Carlson deferred on that point, however, suggesting to leave the economics discussion aside, saying “that’s another show and another debate.” 

Meanwhile, the brand-new stats from the DOJ and DHS are under scrutiny. In his article published soon after the release of the report, Alex Nowrasteh of CATO Institute points out the report is not at all surprising because it focuses on the federal prison population, where illegal immigrants are over-represented, and omits about 90% of the US prison population. The report highlights its own shortcoming:

“This report does not include data on the foreign-born or alien populations in state prisons and local jails because state and local facilities do not routinely provide DHS or DOJ with comprehensive information about their inmates and detainees.  This limitation is noteworthy because state and local facilities account for approximately 90 percent of the total U.S. incarcerated population.”

Citing the study issued by the US sentencing comission, Tucker revealed that non-citzens are responsible for 22% of murder, 18% of fraud, 33% of money laundering, 29% of drug trafficking, and 72% of drug possession convictions by the federal government. He then used those stats to support his claim that “non-citizens are more likely to be arrested, convicted and imprisoned for serious crimes than people who were born here.” Whether Carlson does not understand how federal and state law enforcement works in the United States, or he is intentionally lying to the American people, the claim he makes is false and based on flawed deductive reasoning. These statistics do not prove his claim because the federal government is the only entity that enforces immigration related offenses, so it convicts non-citizens at a higher rate than it convicts criminal citizens for the same crimes. Additionally, the federal prison population only makes up about 10% of the total US prison population. In light of these facts, the federal conviction rates of non-citizens are in no way indicative of the percentage of the total amount of crime in the United States that non-citizens commit, so they do not prove that non-citizens commit more crimes than citizens. 

In reality, in 2016 there were only 85 federal convictions for murder out of a nationwide total of 17,785 murder convictions that year, so federally convicted non-citizens were responsible for around 22% of 0.5% of all murders in the US. That’s 0.11%.  Maybe Tucker should also plan "another show, another debate" on the statistics of the matter...

Watch Noorani take on Carlson in this spirited debate:



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