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GOP Candidates Made Misleading Claims On Crime, Immigration

In the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, candidates made many claims, some more truthful than others, The Guardian reports. Candidates claimed crime was overrunning cities; however, the best data available suggest that, after an increase in killings during the early pandemic, the number of murders nationally fell substantially last year. Candidate Mike Pence suggested the threat of the death penalty would deter people from committing mass shootings. Yet The Violence Project, a research firm, says that “seventy-two percent of mass shooters were suicidal either before or at the time of the shooting.” Data from the FBI also showed that a third to nearly a half of perpetrators either died by suicide or were killed by police or other citizens during the attack.


Pence claimed that under his and Donald Trump’s administration, illegal immigration dropped drastically. In fact, the number of border patrol apprehensions was higher during the Trump administration than during the last four years of Barack Obama’s administration. There was a change in how U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports migrant encounters during the pandemic, complicating some of this data. Pre-pandemic, the agency reported enforcement actions taken under immigration law, but after, it also began reporting actions taken under the Title 42 public health policy that authorized officers to immediately send most migrants at the border back to Mexico. Analysis by PolitiFact found that Pence’s 90% reduction figure could be approximated by comparing enforcement data from May 2019, the month that saw the highest number of apprehensions, with data from April 2020 – just as governments around the world moved to restrict travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “That’s a severely cherry-picked period,” the fact-check group said.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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