With the uproar over President Trump's new travel ban and the GOP plan to repeal-and-replace Obamacare, scant attention is being paid to the opening President Donald Trump seems to have created for immigration reform.
The Washington Post, no fan of the president, has suggested that his appeal to Congress last month for a bipartisan solution to the long-standing problem could be a groundbreaking development – positioning Trump as "the one man" capable of making immigration reform happen.
That may be true: But first the president must distance himself from the many fictions he's been peddling about immigrants.
For example, President Trump inferred that immigrants are responsible for a crime wave sweeping our nation. He announced in his address to Congress that he ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create a new office – Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) – to provide a voice to those victimized by immigrants.
To illustrate the need for the new office, President Trump told the story of three people in the audience whose loved ones had been killed by immigrants. While their stories are tragic, they do nothing to demonstrate that there is an immigrant crime problem. With 43 million foreign born people living in the United States, some of them are bound to commit crimes – including murder.
The reality is that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native born Americans. Among men aged 18 to 49 years old, immigrants were 20 to 50 percent less likely to be incarcerated compared to their native-born counterparts. Overall, while about 7 percent of the population is foreign born, they make up only about 5 percent of all inmates in state and federal prisons.