Northern Arizona congressman Paul Gosar has posted several memes on social media this week that are sure to stoke the immigration debate.
One meme states: "DACA-aged illegals account for nearly 30% of all kidnappings in Arizona." Another states, "DACA-aged illegals account for nearly 14% of all first degree murders in Arizona."
So what are we to make of these claims?
Aside from the research used by Gosar, there appears to be a problem connecting what Gosar calls "DACA-aged illegals" with criminal stats. By definition, the group of roughly 800 thousand young undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who qualify for DACA status have not committed a serious crime, otherwise they wouldn’t qualify.
The numbers cited from Gosar come from a new 40-page report conducted by crime researcher and economist John R. Lott Jr. of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Lott writes that his report is “a unique look” at roughly a half million prisoners who went through the justice system over the course of three decades in Arizona. From those numbers, Lott claims there is a much higher crime rate among the young undocumented population than what previous studies have found.
For example, among all prisoners 15 to 35 years old who have been convicted of kidnapping, 29.6 percent were undocumented immigrants. Regarding the same age range convicted of first degree murder, 13.9 percent were undocumented immigrants, according to the report.
What some may take issue with is that the research has not been peer-reviewed. Past immigration crime studies that turn up different results have been peer-reviewed.