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The mythical link between immigrants and high crime rates

Posted by   /  March 2, 2017  /  No Comments

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Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers arrest a man as part of an effort to deport undocumented immigrants with a criminal record. /Photo courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Wikimedia Commons

4 Arizona areas were studied

Much of the debate surrounding the federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants centers on the notion that they pose a threat to public safety. It’s a viewpoint that has persisted for years, long before Donald Trump made it a hallmark of his presidential campaign and began signing executive orders ramping up immigration enforcement.

A large body of research, however, finds no link between immigration and high crime rates, with some studies suggesting places with more immigrants actually enjoy slightly lower crime rates. Still, critics often contend that illegal immigration leads to more crime as research has generally failed to distinguish such individuals from the vast majority of legal immigrants who’ve been vetted by authorities.

To shed light on this contention, Governing conducted an original analysis using recently released metro area population estimates from the Pew Research Center

for “unauthorized immigrants” — people who crossed the border illegally or overstayed visas. The analysis not only found no link with violent crime, but indicated concentrations of unauthorized immigrants were associated with marginally lower violent crime rates. A statistically significant negative correlation was also shown for property crimes. For every 1 percentage-point increase in the unauthorized immigrant share of a metro area’s population, average property crime rates dropped by 94 incidents per 100,000 residents.


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  • Published: 12 months ago on March 2, 2017
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  • Last Modified: March 2, 2017 @ 7:40 pm
  • Filed Under: Immigration

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