Protesters gathered outside Chicago's Homeland Security building Jan. 26, 2017, to denounce President Donald Trump's plans to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall and ban refugees from entering the U.S. (Alyssa Pointer / Chicago Tribune)
President Donald Trump's plan to end "havoc" wreaked by illegal immigrants would be a silly, misguided notion if it didn't involve demonizing and scapegoating by race and ethnicity and wasting much-needed attention and funding on problems that don't exist and solutions that are not relevant ("Mexican president cancels trip to Washington," Jan. 26).
Committing crimes and taking jobs seem to be the overriding concerns expressed in anti-immigrant rhetoric, but the facts do not support either as a significant problem in the United States.
The U.S. unemployment rate was at or below 5 percent for every month of 2016. While a downward trend may continue, additional reductions from that level will not fundamentally alter our economy as experienced by lower and middle class Americans. Attributing fictional high unemployment to illegal immigration is utter nonsense.
What about rampant crime that Mr. Trump contends is caused by undocumented residents? Not the case for Baltimore, in which only 3 out of 318 homicides in 2016 were committed by Hispanics. Hispanics constitute 4.2 percent of the city population (U.S. Census data) but committed less than 1 percent of homicides last year. Close to the Mexican border, Corpus Christi, which is roughly half the size of Baltimore, experienced fewer than 30 homicides in 2016. Yet the Texas city has the highest murder rate among the FBI's most dangerous cities in the state.
At best, strategically located sections of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be helpful in reducing undocumented immigration. Neither joblessness nor crime rates will be affected noticeably, yet these are very real concerns of very real Americans. Mr. Trump should focus on this reality and less on spinning a stories in which he conveniently plays the hero.