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Immigration and Crime

From Anecdotes to Evidence: Setting the Record Straight on Immigrants and Crime

Anti-immigrant activists and politicians are fond of relying upon anecdotes to support their oft-repeated claim that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are dangerous criminals.  This mythical claim is usually based on rhetorical sleight of hand in which individual stories of heinous crimes committed by immigrants are presented as “proof” that we must restrict immigration or “get tough” on the undocumented in order to save the lives of U.S. citizens.  While these kinds of arguments are emotionally powerful, they are intellectually dishonest.  There is no doubt that dangerous criminals must be punished, and that immigrants who are dangerous criminals should not be allowed to enter the United States or should be deported if they already are here.  But harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime because—as numerous studies over the past 100 years have shown—immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are not associated with higher rates of crime.  This holds true for both legal immigrants and the undocumented, regardless of their country of origin or level of education.

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Published On: Wed, Sep 10, 2008 | Download File

Extremists Hijack Immigration Debate: Increased Reports of Hate Crimes and Discrimination Aimed at U.S.- and Foreign-Born Latinos

Information and examples on how the immigration debate has spurred discrimination, hate, and violence.

Published On: Sun, Mar 30, 2008 | Download File

Immigrants and Crime: Setting the Record Straight

During the current contentious and highly emotional national debate over U.S. immigration policy, many pundits and policymakers have tried to draw a connection between undocumented immigrants and high rates of crime and incarceration. However, the

Published On: Thu, Mar 13, 2008 | Download File

"On the Beat": New Roles and Challenges for Immigrant Police and Firefighters

By Stewart J. Lawrence

The mainstream media, conservative politicians, and even some police organizations continue to promote stereotypes of immigrants as insufficiently “loyal” to America to serve in law-enforcement jobs. Ironically, similar fears were expressed about earlier generations of Irish and Italian immigrants whose dedicated public service helped usher in the modern urban police department. Today, immigrants are once again a vital part of law enforcement as patrol officers and detectives, and in a wide range of police auxiliary roles. Immigrants are also making important contributions to local communities as municipal firefighters and seasonal workers contracted by the federal government to fight deadly and destructive wild fires. America’s streets are unquestionably safer and our neighborhoods more peaceful thanks to the growing number of immigrants available to serve and protect.Read more...

Published On: Sat, Dec 01, 2007 | Download File