Does Immigration Cause Crime?
To delve deeper on the impact of immigration, researchers from the University of Buffalo conducted an intensive study on the real link between immigration and crime.
The results are quite astounding, opposite of general opinion, and opposite of results shown by others.
UB says contrary to common notion that linked immigration to increases in crime rate, the result was the opposite. The study found no links between the two. In fact, the study asserted immigration actually appears to be linked to reductions in some types of crimes.
This key finding was confirmed by Robert Adelman, an associate professor of sociology at UB and the paper’s lead author who said, “Our research shows strong and stable evidence that, on average, across U.S. metropolitan areas crime and immigration are not linked.”
In contrast, Adelman added, “The results show that immigration does not increase assaults and, in fact, robberies, burglaries, larceny, and murder are lower in places where immigration levels are higher.”
This study was spearheaded by a powerhouse of researchers composed of Lesley Williams Reid, University of Alabama; Gail Markle, Kennesaw State University; Charles Jaret, Georgia State University; and Saskia Weiss, an independent scholar.
Adelman asserted that the results are very clear and there are little support for the notion that more immigrants lead to more crime. In fact, earlier studies have shown that, overall, foreign-born individuals are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.
In addition, immigration has a positive effect on American social and economic life.
Previous studies focused on the study of individual immigrants. But in this study, the researchers explored whether larger scale immigration patterns in communities could be linked to rise in crime due to changes in cities, such as fewer economic opportunities or the claim that immigrants displace domestic workers from jobs.
In the study, the researcher drew a sample of 200 metropolitan areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau and used census data and uniform crime reporting data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a 40-year period from 1970 to 2010.
Here are the significant results:
According to Adelman, evidence is clear that communities experiencing demographic change driven by immigration patterns do not experience significant increases in any of the kinds of crime they examined.
In addition, Adelman said, “And in many cases, crime was either stable or actually declined in communities that incorporated many immigrants.”
Other research shows the following:
- Maricopa County, Ariz.: 22 percent of felons are illegal aliens;
- Lake County, Ill.: 19 percent of jail inmates are illegal aliens;
- Collier County, Fla.: 20 to 22 percent of jail inmates and arrestees are illegal aliens;
- Weld County, Colo.: 12.8 to 15.2 percent of those jailed are illegal aliens.
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security said it identified 221,000 non-citizens in the nation’s jails, 11 to 15 percent of the jail population. At that time, non-citizens comprised 8.6 percent of the U.S. adult population. The same year, the Federal Bureau of Prisons noted that 26.4 percent of inmates in federal prisons are non-U.S. citizens. It is noted that federal prisons are not representative of prisons generally, neither are they representative of local jails.
UB’s Adelman suggested that the relationship between immigration and crime is complex and more research needs to be done.