The perception that immigrant crime is rife in the United States is a powerful one. It was raised by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the White House, who highlighted the victims of crimes committed by immigrants in his successful campaign.
However, official figures on immigrant crime, suggest newcomers do not push up offending rates and do not commit more crimes that the indigenous population. In fact, studies suggest foreign-born arrivals commit fewer crimes than the native population.
The issue is tackled by two academics writing in the Los Angeles Times.
The academics are Alex R. Piquero, Ashbel Smith, professor of criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Bianca E. Bersani of the University of Massachusetts Boston.
They point out the present wave of fear about immigrants from Mexico or Central America is not new. In the early 20th Century, a mass influx of immigrants from Ireland, Poland, and Italy sparked a similar panic.
Immigrant Crime Studies Suggest New Arrivals Make Areas Safer
Academics highlight research from sociologists, criminologists, and economists that points to lower levels of crime in neighborhoods with immigrants. The studies also suggest the influx brings in new prosperity to these areas.
However, the academics address the argument that immigrants may have more reasons to fail to report offenses. There’s the fear of deportation in the case of undocumented immigrants and some people come from countries where the police are associated with torture and false imprisonment.
Their research into under-reporting over a seven-year period found little evidence to suggest immigrants were hiding criminal behavior.
The studies of Piquero and Bersani are consistent with previous research. A study by Jörg Spenkuch of Northwestern University in 2014 found no correlation between violent crime and immigration. It did suggest a slight correlation between immigration and property crime
Donald Trump highlighted immigrant crime when he launched his bid for the White House. He said.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
The new president described the immigrant crime figures as “mind-boggling.”
Notwithstanding the research, there are high-profile instances of undocumented migrants being linked to serious crimes.
In Dallas in September, Silvestre Franco Luviano, an undocumented immigrant who was deported three times to Mexico, shot two people dead in a shooting spree, according to police.
If you are an immigrant who has been charged with a crime in a justice system you don’t understand it’s vital to hire an experienced Texas family immigration lawyer. At Peek & Toland , we are fluent in Spanish. Call us at (512) 399-2311.