Do immigrants make cities safer?
"El Paso is three-quarters Hispanic, and more than a quarter of its residents are foreign-born. Given that it's nearly impossible for low-skilled immigrants to work in the United States legitimately, it's safe to say that a significant percentage of El Paso's foreign-born population is living here illegally. El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country, mostly due to gun-friendly state law.
"And famously, El Paso sits just over the Rio Grande from one of the most violent cities in the western hemisphere, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, home to a staggering 2,500 homicides in the last 18 months alone. A city of illegal immigrants with easy access to guns, just across the river from a metropolis ripped apart by brutal drug war violence. Should be a bloodbath, right? Here's the surprise: There were just 18 murders in El Paso last year, in a city of 736,000 people. To compare, Baltimore, with 637,000 residents, had 234 killings. In fact, since the beginning of 2008, there were nearly as many El Pasoans murdered while visiting Juarez (20) than there were murdered in their home town (23). El Paso is among the safest big cities in America. For the better part of the last decade, only Honolulu has had a lower violent crime rate (El Paso slipped to third last year, behind New York).
"Men's Health magazine recently ranked El Paso the second 'happiest' city in America, right after Laredo, Texas—another border town, where the Hispanic population is approaching 95 percent. So how has this city of poor immigrants become such an anomaly? Actually, it may not be an anomaly at all. Many criminologists say El Paso isn't safe despite its high proportion of immigrants, it's safe because of them."