Is Fear of Immigrant Criminals Overblown?

But for many unauthorized immigrants, there isn't a viable pathway to come to the U.S. legally. And being in the country without legal status can be a civil violation, the criminal law equivalent of a parking ticket. No one would say that a parking ticket would lead to someone becoming a violent criminal.

Of course, that immigrants appear less likely to commit crimes is poor consolation for someone who has lost a loved one.

Joshua Wilkenson's mother, Laura, spoke to ABC-Univision about her son's murder on Monday. She doesn't believe Joshua's killer did it because of his immigration status, but she can't escape the basic fact that the crime could have been prevented if immigration laws had been better enforced.

"Josh was murdered through no fault of his own; he went to school one day," she said. "If the kid hadn't been here, he'd be alive today."

But when it comes to setting public policy, we need to make logical, informed choices using data, and not solely emotion and personal stories.

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