When police officer Donald Johnston of El Monte, Ca., answered a routine call in 1990 to investigate a forgery attempt at a bank, he ended up shot in the neck and a paraplegic. Twenty-six years later the case has become a part of the presidential campaign, cited by Donald Trump as an example of someone who was in the U.S. illegally attacking an American citizen. Court records, however, indicate that the shooter, Nguyen Lu, was not in the U.S. illegally. Originally from Vietnam, he was a legal refugee at the time of the incident, reports McClatchy Newspapers.
Trump promotes the notion that immigrants in the U.S. illegally play an outsized role in crime. The heartbreaking cases he highlights often are more complex than they appear on the campaign trail, and studies don’t support the idea that immigrants commit more crimes than people born in America. “The absolutely overwhelming evidence in this area is that immigrants are less crime-prone than the native-born population, they offend at lower levels, they are arrested at lower levels, they’re incarcerated at lower levels,” said criminologist Charis Kubrin of the University of California, Irvine who has studied the relationship between immigration and crime.