When properly interpreted, DPS data suggest that illegal immigrants in Texas are convicted of murder and sexual assault at higher rates than the state average.
So Sean Kennedy, Jason Richwine, and Steven A. Camarota writes “Misuse of Texas data understates illegal immigrant crime,” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), October 2022. DPS is the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Their brief report is a critique of previous work that found low rates of serious crime among illegal aliens in Texas. One of the studies they criticized was by Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute. (Disclosure: I donate a small amount annually to Cato, which got me started as a policy analyst in 1979, and I consider Alex Nowrasteh a friend.)
Nowrasteh responded that the three authors made two mistakes in calculating the homicide rate for illegal aliens. According to Nowrasteh, they overestimated the numerator and underestimated the denominator. Nowrasteh discusses both in detail. I don’t know enough to judge his analysis of the raw homicide numbers, but he makes a strong case that they underestimate the race, i.e., the number of illegal aliens in Texas.
The CIS Crime Report uses the second lowest available estimate of the illegal immigrant population in Texas provided by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), which also produces the lowest nationwide estimate. A lower illegal immigrant population mechanically results in a higher illegal immigrant crime rate by decreasing the denominator (the exponent stays the same or increases). Oddly, CIS did not use their own illegal immigrant population estimates that they had generated elsewhere and instead chose to rely on the much lower CMS population estimates. What’s even more odd about CIS’s choice to ignore their own pure population research on the number of illegal immigrants in their crime paper is that both pieces of research were co-authored by Steven Camarotta.
CIS’s own study on the size of the illegal immigrant population in their Clean Population Research Paper estimated the nationwide illegal immigrant population at 11,390,000 in 2018 and 11,480,000 in 2019, compared to CMS’ estimate of 10,565,000 in 2018 and 2018. More than 1.1 million. In other words, in the paper that focused on illegal immigrant population estimates, CIS estimated the illegal immigrant population nationwide to be eight percent higher than CMS in 2018 and 10.9 percent higher in 2019. Nevertheless, CIS authors used CMS’ lower illegal immigrant numbers for the paper on illegal immigrant crime rates in Texas. CIS’s pure population estimate implies a Texas illegal immigrant population of 1,940,000 (which DHS found using the same methodology) but CMS found 1,781,752. CIS thus used a population estimate for the number of illegal immigrants in Texas that was 7.5 percent lower than their pure population estimate in 2018 and 8.9 percent lower in 2019.
He later wrote:
In their pure population study, CIS bragged that their estimates of the illegal immigrant population were in line with DHS’s own population estimates. CIS’s Pure Population Survey did not break down their estimates by state, but DHS did. Because the DHS and CIS methods are nearly identical (they use different data sources), I can use DHS’ Texas-level estimates in the following example. CIS’s slightly higher number of illegal immigrant crimes, combined with CIS’s Pure Demographics study which reported a Texas illegal immigrant population of 1,940,000 in 2018, reveals that the illegal immigrant homicide rate down How would Cato’s illegal immigrant population estimates compare with CIS crime data (Figure 1). CIS’s pure population study, combined with their illegal immigrant homicide evidence data, produced a homicide rate of 2.9 per 100,000 illegal immigrants, compared to Cato’s three per 100,000. Both rates are below Cato’s native-born American homicide rate in Texas in 2018.
DHS is the Department of Homeland Security.
You may wonder why the focus is on Texas. The main reason is that their data is more finely divided.
See this October 2020 paper co-authored by Alex Nowrasteh for an earlier comparison of various serious crime rates.