by Victor Mora
Immigration is a hot button issue, especially under the current administration. There has been a sudden burst of anti-immigrant rhetoric that has emerged and some of it has been based on the portrayal of the criminal immigrant by politicians and the media. I understand people may not have the time to volunteer or the resources to donate, but another way to help the cause of immigrants is to be informed on the issues. There seems to be a lack of empathy for the plight of immigrants because they are viewed as criminals.
As a PhD student in criminology and criminal justice, I look at immigration from a different point of view as I examine the validity of these statements. I do this by reviewing what research has been done on the topic. After reviewing decades of rigorous research, it is safe to conclude that the “criminal immigrant” is a myth. By combating falsehoods with research, we can take steps to remove the “criminal immigrant” moniker and reduce the fear and animosity towards this segment of our population.
Below are several resources to get the reader started:
Immigration and Crime by Frances Bernat
This is an open-access extensive review of the research that has been done regarding the Immigration-crime link.
Illegal Immigration Does not Increase Violent Crime, 4 Studies by John Burnett
This piece by NPR highlights four recent studies that cover the topic of undocumented immigration and crime. Immigration and crime research has generally focused on legal immigration and crime because of access to data. However, there has been a recent surge of research regarding undocumented immigration and crime. The remaining links are the four studies this article mentions.
- Does Undocumented Immigration Increase Crime? by Michael T. Light
This article examines the link between undocumented immigration and violent crime.
The results suggest that the relationship is negative meaning that undocumented immigrants do not increase crime.
- Undocumented Immigration, Drug Problems, and Driving Under the Influence in the United States, 1990-2014 by Michael T. Light, Ty Miller, & Brian C. Kelly
This article examines the link between undocumented immigration and non-violent
crime. The results suggest that increased undocumented immigration results in reductions in drug arrests, drug overdose deaths, and DUI arrests.
- Criminal Immigrants in Texas: Illegal Immigrant Conviction and Arrest Rates for Homicide, Sexual Assault, Larceny, and Other Crimes by Alex Nowrasteh
This brief highlights that the conviction and arrest rates for undocumented immigrants
were lower than those for native-born Americans.
- Investigating the Offending Histories of Undocumented Immigrants by Bianca E. Bersani, Adam D. Fine, Alex R. Piquero, Laurence Steinberg, Paul J. Frick, & Elizabeth Cauffman
This article compares the self-reported engagement of crime amongst undocumented
immigrants, documented immigrants, and their U.S.-born peers. Results suggest that undocumented youths report engaging in less crime prior to and following their first arrest.
Migration Resource Center provides affordable immigration legal services.
Call us: 646-609-8805 (NY) or 602-344-9255 (AZ)
Visit our Website: https://www.migrationusa.org/contact/
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