From a Public Policy Institute of California comes a study finding that immigrants, legal and illegal, in California are not more likely to show up in prison than native-born Americans. Some findings:
• Foreign-born men make up about 35 percent of the state's adult male population, but they are roughly 17 percent of the state's overall prison inmates.
• U.S.-born men are jailed in state prisons at a rate more than three times higher than foreign-born men and are 10 times more likely to land behind bars.
• Male Mexican nationals ages 18 to 40 - those more likely to have entered the country illegally - are more than eight times less likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to be imprisoned.
• Those who entered the country when they were 1 year old or younger make up about 0.8 percent of those institutionalized.
The low crime rate among foreign-born Californians can be seen in the crime tallies for cities such as Burbank, Glendale and Norwalk, which large proportions of the state's immigrant population call home.
From 2000 to 2005, those cities experienced crime dips far greater than cities with smaller immigrant populations.
I haven't read the actual study, whose summary at least counters the notion that immigrants are the Professor Moriaritys of crime in America. And whose main point is consistent with other studies on the issue.
Alas, Tony Montana, the world was yours.
Update: I added the actual link to the SJMN story above. Some commenters below ask whether deportations deflate the number of immigrant prisoners. The study, which again I haven't read, apparently takes something like that into consideration. See this SF Chron summary.