A Republican mayor in California has a theory about how to reduce crime in his city: Get more Asian people and gay people to live there.
In an interview with Vice, Lancaster, California Mayor Rex Parris says that his plan to revitalize the city involves attracting new residents from certain types of demographics that he claims will help lower the amount of crime.
"Good things happen when you’re able to increase your Asian population to a certain threshold: Crime rates go down, education levels go up," the mayor explained to Vice. "Interestingly, the same thing happens with the gays. That’s why I put the new performing arts center right downtown."
The most recent census data of Lancaster showed that the city's Asian population stood at just 2% of its total population in 2010, which means that Parris seems to have his work cut out for him.
At the same time, Vice notes that Parris has aggressively reached out to Chinese investors to get them to put money into his city. Among other things, he successfully recruited Chinese battery and car manufacturer BYD to build a factory in his city, and he also created an initiative "for Chinese millionaires to fund construction projects through 'immigrant investor' green cards."
He also sparked outrage when he proposed boosting investment in a struggling local hospital by turning it into a Chinese birth tourism center where Chinese women could give birth on American soil, and thus secure their children's U.S. citizenship.
"To me it made perfect sense," he told Vice. "You have affluent Chinese coming over here, and their children become U.S. citizens. We don’t want that?!?"