On Boyles' show, F.I.R.E. Coalition's Mrochek cited dubious statistic that "25 Americans every single day are killed by illegal aliens"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

On 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show, guest Jason Mrochek of the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (F.I.R.E.) Coalition cited a dubious statistic* to claim "25 Americans every single day are killed by illegal aliens. And that breaks out to 12 by, like, first- and second-degree murder, and then 13 every day by, you know, illegal aliens driving drunk and uninsured and things like that."

On the September 8 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show, guest Jason Mrochek, co-founder of the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (F.I.R.E.) Coalition, cited a dubious statistic from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to claim "25 Americans every single day are killed by illegal aliens. And that breaks out to 12 by, like, first- and second-degree murder, and then 13 every day by, you know, illegal aliens driving drunk and uninsured and things like that." Mrochek further stated that "obviously there's the perception that a lot of these, the [people] drunk driving, are illegals." **

According to its website, the F.I.R.E. Coalition "represent[s] federal, state, and local interests in stopping the flood of illegal immigration and promoting reasonable policies for limited, controlled legal immigration."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, a statistic similar to the one Mrochek cited, and originating from Rep. King's office, was cited on host Peter Boyles's July 28 show by Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, who claimed that "28,000 Americans have been killed at the hands of illegal aliens since 9-11."

In fact, King based this figure on a dubious "extrapolat[ion]" from an April 2005 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study showing that "noncitizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally" -- not just illegal immigrants, as Mrochek claimed -- comprise approximately 27 percent of the United States federal prison population. In a May 3 speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, King claimed criminal immigrants make up 28 percent of the U.S. prison population. According to King, this "means 28 percent of the murders, 28 percent of the rapes, 28 percent of the violence and the assaults and battery, first- and second-degree murder and also manslaughter attacks are committed by criminal aliens."

In a speech to the Wake Up America Foundation's Unite to Fight Summit on May 27, King said he used the assumption that criminal aliens commit 28 percent of each category of crime to "extrapolate" his estimate of 28,000 American deaths that immigrants have caused since September 11, 2001:

KING: That GAO study that I had done supports those numbers. I went through it thoroughly. Between the cities, the counties, the state and the federal penitentiaries, that study -- my study shows 28 percent are criminal aliens. Now, if you extrapolate that across the crimes that are committed, between first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter -- willful, violent, death -- that number comes to, on average, 12 Americans a day die at the hands of those who come into this country that, if we'd enforced our borders, would not be here to commit the crime. That's the violent ones. That's the willful ones. There's another 13 every day that die in a wreck because of negligent homicide, because of victims of drunk drivers who should not be here in this country. That's 25 Americans a day -- that number since September 11 exceeds 28,000.

King's figures are dubious, however, because the GAO study reported only the percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons, which held at 27 percent from 2001 to 2004. It did not include the percentage of criminal aliens in state or local prisons, instead reporting that "there was no reliable population and incarceration cost data on criminal aliens incarcerated in all state prisons and local jails." King apparently assumed the 27 percent figure (which he apparently remembered as 28 percent), which applies only to the federal prison population, held for "the cities, the counties, [and] the state ... penitentiaries" as well.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the federal prison population in 2002 was 7.5 percent of the total U.S. prison population (defining U.S. prison population as the number of people incarcerated in federal, state, and local adult prisons), and in 2003 it was 8.3 percent. King generalized the GAO study's 27 percent figure despite the fact that it reported accurate numbers for only 7.5 percent to 8.3 percent of the U.S. prison population.

Furthermore, the GAO study did not break down federally incarcerated criminal aliens by specific criminal offenses. But King took U.S. crime statistics on first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide across the entire justice system and concluded 28 percent of each crime is committed by criminal aliens against Americans.

Finally, Mrochek cited King in applying the dubious statistic only to "illegal aliens." However, the GAO study reported on the percentage of federal prisoners who were "noncitizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally." ***

From the September 8 broadcast of KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: And, again, we come back to this. So, Jason Mrochek is with us, of the F.I.R.E. Coalition. And, "The Miller Brewing Company" -- I'm quoting you on a wire story -- "is giving money to groups that support amnesty and citizenship for illegals." And I love the line, "The last thing we need is more illegal aliens driving drunk and killing American citizens." Wise guy. So, talk about --

MROCHEK: Well.

BOYLES: I'm sorry, go ahead.

MROCHEK: I was going to say, I mean, there's a lot -- It's said in a couple different manners, because -- I don't know if William [Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration] talked to you about this -- but, you know, he and I were with Steve King a few months ago. He's a Republican congressman from Iowa, the 5th District. And he was telling us some statistics that his office had come up with, that 25 Americans every single day are killed by illegal aliens. And that breaks out to 12 by, like, first- and second-degree murder, and then 13 every day by, you know, illegal aliens driving drunk and uninsured and things like that; you know, negligent homicide-type things. And so it's extremely relevant that, you know, number one, a beer company, which obviously there's the perception that a lot of these, the drunk driving, are illegals. And I know William has a lot of that problem in North Carolina. We do in California. I mean, the only accident I've been in in my entire life has been at the hands of an illegal alien driving drunk.

BOYLES: Um, hmm.

MROCHEK: So, there is that perception. So it's very relevant to this story, as well as the fact that we need to -- people in America wake up and say, you know, this isn't just about, you know, jobs or, you know, money or anything like that. We're being killed at the rate of 25 a day.

Correction: 

* The summary of this item originally stated that Mrochek "distorted an already dubious statistic." See below for explanation.

** Correction: This item originally stated that Mrochek "distorted an already dubious statistic from Rep. Steve King." See below for explanation.

*** Correction: This item originally stated, "Finally, Mrochek's citation of King's dubious statistic was doubly erroneous because Mrochek applied it only to 'illegal aliens,' whereas King and the GAO study reported on 'noncitizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally.' "

The GAO study did report on the percentage of federal prisoners who were "noncitizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally." King said in his May 27 speech -- excerpted above -- that the GAO study "shows 28 percent are criminal aliens." However, in the same speech, King also claimed the figure applied specifically to illegal immigrants. Colorado Media Matters regrets the error.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.