If you have heard John McCain and Jan Brewer making hyperbolic claims of illegal immigrants kidnapping, murdering, raping, and beheading everyone and their brother in Arizona these days — their justification for the immigration law — then consider ignoring them?

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who usually spreads this unchecked conventional wisdom on a weekly basis, has written an excellent column debunking the myths of exponentially surging illegal immigrant violence along the border that right-wing Arizona politicians are shouting about all day, in order to justify that harsh, racial-profiling immigration law.

For example: Jan Brewer, the flustered Arizona governor, claimed last week on television, "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded." But when this was fact-checked, "medical examiners in Arizona's border counties and the coroners said they had never seen an immigration-related beheading."


Two months ago, the Arizona Republic published an exhaustive report that found that, according to statistics from the FBI and Arizona police agencies, crime in Arizona border towns has been "essentially flat for the past decade." For example, "In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Last year, despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes." The Pima County sheriff reported that "the border has never been more secure."

FBI statistics show violent crime rates in all of the border states are lower than they were a decade ago — yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is "the worst I have ever seen." President Obama justifiably asserted last week that "the southern border is more secure today than any time in the past 20 years," yet Rush Limbaugh judged the president to be "fit for the psycho ward" on the basis of that remark.

So poor Jan Brewer was not forced to sign this immigration bill into law because the hordes of beheading, kidnapping Mexican death monsters were surrounding her office and law enforcement needed emergency powers to shoo 'em out. And the more Brewer and McCain play up this threat of constant violence, the worse it is for Arizona's economy. And Arizona's economy is really really bad! Have you been there? Empty houses and whatnot, everywhere.

[Photo of Arizona border via Getty Images]