Donald Trump stopped by the US-Mexico border Tuesday to check progress on the wall he once promised to build to keep out “drug dealers, criminals and rapists.” So far, that consists of eight concrete prototypes in the outskirts of San Diego. “If you don’t have a wall system, we’re not going to have a country,” the US president said as he stood in front of them. “There’s a lot of problems in Mexico… they have the cartels.”
But data from Texas show that it’s US-born criminals who are causing the most trouble in the US. Detailed statistics from the Lone Star state analyzed by the Cato Institute show that immigrants have significantly lower criminal conviction rates than natives, no matter whether they are in the country legally or illegally.
Immigrants’ conviction rates are lower than those of natives across a wide range of crimes, including sexual assault and homicide—two types of attacks that Trump has associated with immigrants.
Undocumented immigrants made up about 6.4% of the Texas population in 2015, but accounted for 5.4% of homicide convictions, according to the Cato study. US-born Texas residents, meanwhile, made up 83% of the state’s population, but 93% of homicide convictions.
Conviction rates for sexual assault are also slightly higher for natives than for undocumented immigrants—and much higher when comparing to immigrants in the US legally.
Immigrants were more likely to be convicted of other types of crimes than natives—gambling, kidnapping, smuggling, and vagrancy. However, the number of convictions for those crimes was tiny: There were roughy 120 convictions of immigrants for those crimes, making up a total of just 0.03% of all criminal convictions in Texas in 2015.