Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted to Meet the Press anchor, David Gregory, that Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) was wrong when she stated that most undocumented immigrants “are coming here and they’re bringing drugs” during a primary election debate. CNN is now reporting that T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council has also affirmed that Brewer’s statements are simply not true:
T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council told CNN that Brewer’s claims were “clearly not the case.” Bonner said that some undocumented immigrants caught by border patrol agents have drugs on them, and that they sometimes blame pressure from the drug cartels. But, he said, those claims have little credibility because drug smugglers are typically transporting much larger quantities of drugs. And besides, he said, if what Brewer said were true, there would be many more prosecutions for drug smuggling. Brewer’s comments, Bonner said, don’t “comport with reality — that’s the nicest way to put it.”
Bonner isn’t exactly a pro-immigrant activist either. Most recently, he defended the shooting of a teenager who was accused of throwing rocks at a border patrol agent saying that the use of “deadly force” was a justified response. Bonner has spoken at “Mothers Against Illegal Aliens” events and praised the border vigilante Minutemen Project.
Despite criticism, Brewer is sticking to her guns. When pressed, Brewer told CNN that undocumented immigrants might be motivated to come to the U.S. just to work, however, they get “snared” into the drug cartels, She later issued a press release defending her remarks. “The simple truth is that the majority of human smuggling in our state is under the direction of the drug cartels, which are by definition smuggling drugs,” stated Brewer.
As Wonk Room has repeatedly pointed out, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes and their presence is more likely to be correlated with safer cities and neighborhoods. Despite the flow of illegal immigration, violent crime along the U.S. side of the border has been declining.
Watch Brewer’s interview with CNN: