On Tuesday night, during a discussion after President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, liberal CNN contributor Van Jones insisted that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the general population as right-leaning CNN contributor Rick Santorum cited a recent study by John Lott finding that illegal immigrants in Arizona commit crimes at twice the rate of the general population. And over on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow pushed the recurring liberal talking point that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, but did not inform viewers of those findings that illegal immigrants actually have a higher crime rate. On CNN at 10:55 p.m. ET, after Jones a bit earlier had claimed that President Trump "was selling sweet-tasting candy with poison in it" and was portraying "Dreamers" as criminals, Santorum got to revisit the debate and brought up Lott's research:
“There is an Arizona study that just came out that studied -- in this case they broke out undocumented or illegal immigrants from the rest of the immigrant population over from 1985 to 2017. And what it found is that undocumented immigrants commit crimes more than U.S. residents, 142 percent more crimes. They commit more violent crimes -- they're almost twice as likely to commit, you know, I think it was murder.” -- Although it should be common sense that people who are willing to break the law to enter the country are more likely to break additional laws while in the country in contrast with immigrants who patiently go through the proper procedure, Jones was in denial as he reacted: "That study is an outlier -- the study is an outlier by a biased state that is trying to make a point." The liberal commentator went on to dismiss the study as "alternative facts."