In the past couple of years, there have been comments made by the President that have made people question whether immigrants, specifically illegal immigrants, increase crime rates in the United States.
Immigration attorney Jeff Peek discusses the data recently published by CATO Institute that studied Texas data regarding illegal immigrants and crime rates.
In a recent Gallup poll, 42% of respondents said, yes, illegal immigrants increase the amount of crime in the community. 50% said they didn’t think so. And 7% said they thought they decreased the amount of crime. So what is the truth?
There is interesting work being done over at the CATO Institute, analyzing data out of Texas. The data shows the conviction rates per hundred thousand population.
Here are the findings:
535/100,000 are legal immigrants
782/100,000 are illegal immigrants
1,422/100,000 are native-born U.S. citizens
Interestingly enough, the lowest crime rate for a hundred thousand conviction rates is legal immigrants. The next highest category is illegal immigrants, which leaves with the staggering interesting thought that native U.S. born citizens in Texas are more likely to commit crimes than their legal and illegal immigrant counterparts.
In some sense, you can say the myth that illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crime compared to U.S. citizens or legal immigrants is somewhat untrue.
To be fair, when people talk about statistics, they like to shine a light to present their arguments the best way. The counter-argument is that every person illegally present in the United States is committing a crime under federal code. And that is technically true. But we are focusing on property crime, violent crime, drug crime, the crimes that affect us in our daily lives.
It’s important to note that these are based on estimates because we don’t technically know the full number of illegal immigrants in the United States. We make guesstimates based on all sorts of data. It could be possible that the illegal immigrant population is much lower than we estimate. If that were true, then this number would go up. But most people who study this believe if anything, we’re probably undercounting or underestimating the number of illegal immigrants in the United States.
You can view this information right now at cato.org/workingpapers and draw your conclusions. But we must speak honestly about the value that immigrants bring to the country.
There are other studies out there. One example found out that by the DACA passage, they saw the crime rate go down when you offered immigrants the opportunity to have a work permit. When people are here legally allowed to work, they’re less likely to be involved in crime.
Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t any immigrants committing a crime. As the report shows, both legal and illegal immigrants commit crimes, but it is not what the President has painted it to be. It’s always essential to have real information and real data and not just listen to false statements.
You can find CATO’s publication here: https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/2020-10/working-paper-60.pdf.
If you have an immigration question, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 512-474-4445.