Immigration Strawmen

It’s easy to knock down strawmen. That’s why it’s tempting to use them to argue your case. Take, for example, this title to an article on the ThinkProgress website: “More Proof That Immigrants Aren’t All Criminals.” Has anybody ever claimed that all immigrants are criminals” Of course not. Legally arriving immigrants are screened to prevent the arrival of any with criminal records.

100203houston_lgEven in the current presidential campaign rhetoric, reference to the problem of criminal aliens has focused on illegal aliens, and even then with the qualifier that all illegal aliens are criminals. So the story title is an egregious strawman.

The story reports that not all aliens subject to detainer requests by ICE have a criminal record – meaning a conviction for a crime. It goes on to cite the Obama administration’s self-declared priority of deporting aliens who represent a threat to the public, as enunciated by DHS secretary Johnson. But what the story ignores is that the DHS priority criteria for deportation also include recent arrivals, persons who reenter after being deported and persons with multiple misdemeanor convictions. That fact alone means that a share of deported aliens will not have criminal convictions. For that reason, the data that indicate the inclusion of non-criminal aliens in ICE detainer requests and the fact that they are being deported is meaningless except to those who would like to see the already atrophied deportation program shrunk even further.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    illegal aliens are criminals for their corrupt actions of entering illegally a sovereign USA. those legal aliens given the privilege of temporary visas based on good faith, chose to become criminal illegal aliens by breaching the privilege temporary visas granted in good faith. the POTUS is the only one who can deport illegal aliens, yet the POTUS for decades, with obama as the worst, all knowingly, premeditated did not do the job of deporting illegal aliens, since the 80′ reagan’s amnesty. the cause / effect is the out of control illegal aliens that grew in an imaginable estimated 30-50M illegal aliens. the 11M is way off, in order to fool the public to jump in the bandwagon of the insane obama’s immigration reforms, which is nothing but the baddest amnesty of illegal aliens with agendas, who are not in tune with the american cultures, and will push to americans their own foreign cultures, to change america’s traditions.

    • avatar

      Yes neerg

      IAs are committing felonies by repetitively staying in our country day after day….its a misdemeanor the first day, after that is repetitive misdemeanor= felony. They’re identical to bank robbers [especially identity theft thrown in] and like us, we committed felonies, we’d deserve immediate prison time.

      • avatar

        so you believe, the we – meaning all the people committed felonies – meaning violent crimes, that all people are casually crimes engage as a way of life. your crowd, the people you **** out with are guilty of committing felonies is exactly what you are saying. for you to say, the rest of the people are on the same crowd like yours is your spin of the truth of the lawful people existence.

        • avatar

          SO neerg all illegals Aliens overstayed their visas…… about the following……do you think that there is an illegal that has contributed more then you to the US….?……the answer is yes………

          • avatar

            How would you have any idea what any individual has “contributed”? We do know that as a group both illegal and legal immigrants use far more than their share of welfare programs than native born. If your idea of a “contribution” is welfare use, that’s not the normal meaning.

          • avatar

            Leland how do you know that? if you do not even have the rest of the info?…I already gave you proof….330M…..10-20 illegals for SURE not all are in Welfare and the most in Welfare is our own….look for the proof… are easily manipulated by misled information,,,,,,

          • avatar

            “do you think that there is an illegal that has contributed more then”-it should be than”you to the US….?……the answer is yes………” the illegal aliens get educated, the contribution to themselves alone, not to america. no matter how you want to slice the composition of illegality, it’s still illegal / criminal, given america’s rule of laws. for any illegal aliens to be employed by employers, both the illegal aliens, and the employers get punished as written in the book of the immigration laws. any illegal aliens who got employed in medium to big businesses used stolen SS cards. the small to the smallest businesses, the usual practices are the under the table pay off. the POTUS is the only one who can enforce the immigration laws as written. after the 80′ reagan amnesty, the POTUS, BO as the worst did not enforce the immigration laws, caused the piling estimated 30-50M illegal aliens. americans should be outraged, that the past / present prez for decades have not done their jobs to get rid of illegal aliens, instead have profited using illegal aliens to secure the votes of the hispanics.
            if anything, that needs to be reformed in the laws of immigration are as follows:

            1. make it an impeachable offense for any sitting prez who do not fully enforce the immigration laws of deporting illegal aliens. using both datas of those illegally crossing the borders on foot / those with expired visas, its easy to track down / deport illegal aliens, no ifs or buts, on this darn age of high tech. the prez must also be impeached, if s/he do not account the culpability of the employers employing illegal aliens. employers must be fined to the fullest extent of the laws.


            2. first / foremost is to declare sanctuary cities an act of treason, in order to reform the applications of the immigration laws to the 50 states, since the feds, the POTUS in particular have failed big time in enforcing the immigration laws since the 80′ reagan amnesty.

            3. the 14th amendment, as written is the exclusions of diplomats, whose allegiance are with their respective countries, their offsprings born in the USA are not US citizens, but citizens of the parent’s origins. the arguments of the legal experts – illegal aliens entering illegally the sovereign USA, their allegiance are to their respective nations, and or aliens with temporary visas as tourists, student, etc, their allegiance are to their respective countries of origins, their offsprings are not US citizens, but citizens of the parent’s origins. the birthright citizenship has been corrupted / abused for decades, and must be ironed out by the politician lawmakers. trump as R prez candidate is the only one in history attacking head on, the out of control illegal alien mess.

        • avatar

          That was never a misdemeanor until not too long ago………………you are sitting in your couch….I have a question for you…have you ever smoked pot?……..the answer is likely to be yes…….how many times?..most likely 100+………so if yes at all this……that makes you what?….a criminal?

  2. avatar

    The reason for giving so much attention to the crimes committed by many illegal immigrants, that is crimes committed in addition to the crime of being in our country illegally, is that these are crimes that never would have happened if the perpetrator was not in our country in the first place. They have no right to be in our country and the long list of crimes they have committed never would have happened in this country had they not been here.

  3. avatar

    There’s a big sob story about an illegal detained by ICE because he had a DUI in 2010, petty theft in 2014, and a drug possession charge earlier this year, and his family was all upset because he was picked up. Apparently people with a pattern of criminal activity are supposed to be left here? He knew he had to keep his hands clean and yet he continued to defy the law. He’s worthy of our sympathy?

    The media is beyond idiotic at times. I was listening to the Dan Le Betard show on ESPN and he made the statement that Ferguson Missouri was proof of “America’s war on blacks”. Say what? We watched a video of a 6-3 280 pound 18 year old assaulting a store clerk after robbing his store. Then we saw people burning their own neighborhood after both a grand jury and the Justice Dept. in DC said that the forensic evidence supported the officer’s claim that he was attacked and that Brown was advancing on him. How uninformed, or biased, take your pick, do you have to be to make such a statement.