The latest FBI crime data once more shows how some communities along the U.S.-Mexico border have lower violent crime rates than other U.S. cities similar in size. Many Republicans have focused on illegal immigration during this year's midterms campaigns, often portraying border communities as dangerous and lawless, Axios reports. An analysis of eight U.S. border communities that reported crimes to the FBI in 2021 found they have lower violent crime and homicide rates than the national average. On average, the eight cities — Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo, Eagle Pass and El Paso, Tx., Sunland Park, N.M., Yuma, Az.,and San Diego — had a violent crime rate of 333.6 per 100,000 residents, compared to 388.57 for the nation. The same cities also had a homicide rate of 4.5 per 100,000 residents in 2021, compared to 6.8 in the nation. (The homicide rate in the same cities was 4.2 in 2020).
Yuma was the only community near the border with 2021 violent crime and murder rates higher than the national average. Some border cities like McAllen, Tx., a city of 144,000, had a particularly low violent crime rate of 180.2 per 100,000 people. The community is across from Reynosa, Mexico, one of the most dangerous places in the Americas due to cartel violence. Eagle Pass, a city of 29,500, had a violent crime rate of 179.6 per 100,000 people. Experts, police and elected officials don't know why rates stay so low compared to cities of the same size and similar demographics, but many point to research showing low crime in immigrant communities. They also point to the high presence of law enforcement in the region, from Border Patrol to federal drug enforcement agents.