In his State of the Union address tonight, President Trump claimed that, “Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.”
Trump has repeatedly cited crimes committed by undocumented immigrants—both during his presidential campaign and during his tenure in office. This is the second time he’s invited family members of victims to the State of the Union.
Fact check: The Bureau of Justice does not include citizenship in its breakdown of national arrest statistics, so there is no reliable federal data to quantify the number of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
Here’s what the statistics do show on immigration and crime:
- A 2018 study by the libertarian Cato Institute, which reviewed criminal conviction data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, found that immigrants — legal or illegally — are less likely than native-born Americans to be convicted of a crime. Throughout the country, there is also generally a decrease in the number of violent crimes, according to the FBI.
- Other studies have found that murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault have not increased alongside an uptick in undocumented immigration since 1990, that undocumented immigrants do not contribute to an increase in drug overdoses and DUI deaths, and that young, undocumented immigrants engage in less crime than their American or legal immigrant peers.