Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CNN host Fareed Zakaria he doesn’t believe undocumented immigrants pose a crime risk in an interview for the upcoming television special Global Lessons: The GPS Road Map for Making Immigration Work.
“Undocumented have very low crime rate. Why? Because they’re scared to death they’re going to get arrested and deported,” Mr. Bloomberg said of New York’s undocumented immigrants.
New York has an estimated half a million undocumented immigrants. Political leaders in border states have complained illegal immigration has led to a spike in crime.
“We’ve been inundated with criminal activity. It’s just — it’s been outrageous,” Arizona Governor Jan Brewer told Fox News in 2010.
Mr. Bloomberg has advocated immigration reform including more visa programs for highly skilled workers, guest-worker programs and green cards for graduates with advanced degrees. In his interview with Mr. Zakaria, Mr. Bloomberg also said about 75 percent of undocumented immigrants in New York pay taxes.
“Undocumented are not unemployed, they take jobs. They may be kicking the cash economy off the books, but they work,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “Employers withhold and then the government says, ‘Well, this guy didn’t earn enough, we have to send a refund. To where? The documentation doesnt exist or is fraudulent.”
Mr. Bloomberg also told Mr. Zakaria he doesn’t think undocumented immigrants put a strain on public schools or hospitals because they tend to leave their children in their home countries and are generally young and healthy.
Watch Mr. Bloomberg’s interview with Mr. Zakaria here. Global Lessons: The GPS Road Map for Making Immigration Work airs on CNN Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m.