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Immigrants Are Less Criminal Than Natural-Born Americans

Something to keep in mind during the Republican debate tonight

ImmigrantArrestedwikimediaThe New York Times today is reporting the results of a new study that, once again, finds that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are far less prone to criminality than native-born Americans are.

This new study bolsters my reporting on the topic back in 2014 which also found lower rates of criminality among immigrants. As I then noted: University of California sociologist Ruben Rumbaut finds, among other things, that the incarceration rate of American-born males between 18 and 39 years of age was five times the rate of foreign-born males, and finds similar conclusions in a survey of other studies on the topic.

Rumbaut and his colleagues have updated their data. From the executive summary of their study:

For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. In other words, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term. For this reason, harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime.

Something to keep in mind when the topic of immigration comes up during the Republican presidential debate tonight.

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  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Pass.

  • Los Doyers||

    This is America. You have to lateral.

  • Swiss Servator||

    *laterals gas*

  • Rich||

    The New York Times today is reporting the results of a new study that, once again, finds that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are far less prone to criminality than native-born Americans are.

    So they commit most of their crimes standing up, amirite?

    /Trump

  • ||

    If you've ever lived in an area with a large illegal immigrant population, you know many crimes go unprosecuted because it's simply not worth the headache to do the paperwork on a person that will not show up to court and will end up with a new fake green card and a new car they paid cash for in a week.

    That's not to say I'm for deporting all of the people here illegally, I'm just stating a relatively well-known fact.

  • ||

    Perhaps it's merely an anecdote though. I only glean that information from the last decade I've spent in the Central Valley of California, the Inland Empire, many areas of Texas and my wife's experience in Phoenix. But talk to a cop from any of those places and they'll be happy to inform you that much of their charges are predicated on how likely the defendant is to actually turn up for trial.

  • Los Doyers||

    But talk to a cop

    NO GRACIAS

  • Free Society||

    There's a running joke in my town about the notorious and untouchable criminal mastermind Jose Vargas. This is the name that the fairly sizable illegal immigrant population gives when caught driving without a license or gets a DUI or when a bench warrant gets issued because he doesn't show up for court. You'll often see numerous mentions of him in the court section of the same issue of the local newspaper, seldom does he actually show up for court.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    He's better than famous - he's IN-FAMOUS!

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I imagine that's mostly petty crimes such as theft or vandalism. What the anti-immigrant hardliners want us to think of are brown hordes raping and pillaging throughout America, which isn't supported by the data.

  • Swiss Servator||

    In my county, when I was prosecuting, it was a lot of low level crap. One city tried every ticket and ordnance violation and asset forfeiture they could on the arrivals from Guerrero, Tecalitan and Chiapas. Of course, the Latin Kings did a lot of "youth outreach" too, unfortunately.

  • John||

    My dad was the mayor of a small town for a while. When an illegal committed a crime such as DUI or theft, they were basically immune. They had no ID and neither the state nor the feds were interested in taking them. So what do you do? Let them go and never see them again.

  • John||

    Okay. Maybe the fact that we make the efforts we do to control the border and deport the criminals who get across has something to do with that?

    Or is it that immigrants are just superior to natives and there is no criminal element to worry about?

  • CE||

    The data in Cologne was processed a little late.

  • John||

    There is a lot of that. Also, this report measure crime by the incarceration rate. When an immigrant is convicted of a crime, they are usually deported after they finish their sentence. When a native does so, they of course return to society.

    Only an open borders fanatic could be surprised that the immigrant population has a lower incarceration rate. If we could deport any native who went to prison instead of turning them back onto the streets to re-offend, I bet the native incarceration rate would be a lot lower too as we thinned the population of career criminals.

    Really all this report proves is that the system of deporting criminal aliens works reasonably well at keeping the number of criminal immigrants in the country under control.

  • KDN||

    You're forgetting that the very act of immigrating illegally is itself a criminal act, and therefore criminality amongst the "undocumented" is actually 100%.

    /debateover.

  • ||

    The crime of overstaying a visa or entering the country illegally is somehow lost on the NYT.*

    *I'm not debating the morality of immigration laws, just the fact that breaking them is a crime.

  • ernieyeball||

    I'm not debating the morality of traffic laws, just the fact that breaking them is a crime.
    If you want to reduce the crime rate in this country, jail all the speed limit violators. There won't be anyone left on the road.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Not all illegals came here illegally… Almost half did not enter illegally but came on legal visa and simply overstayed their visa (before September 11, this number was larger but with the crackdowns since then, the number is going down).

    Undocumented presence is not a crime unless the person was previously deported. Undocumented presence, like many other immigration violations, is a civil infraction like many traffic violations and not a crime.

    Criminalizing immigration violations would change deportation hearing into deportation trials with legal representation (often with a lawyer provided by the taxpayers) and a jury trial which would drive up the cost of deportations significantly.

  • John||

    Clearly, the answer is to deport anyone who is native born and import another population. It would be as Jeb Bush tells us harder working and as reason points out less criminal.. America could be according to reason a great place if only we could do something about all of those filthy Americans.

    I am pretty sure this report was written by Fox Butterfield. It goes on for pages talking about how hard nosed the US is about immigration and deportation and then explains how the immigrants who remain are less criminal than the native population.

  • ||

    I am pretty sure this report was written by Fox Butterfield.

    It wasn't.

  • John||

    That was a joke Nikki. Google Fox Butterfield and you will get it.

  • ||

    I know who it is, John. But since the study itself doesn't do what you claim, it wasn't all that funny.

  • John||

    Yes it does. It can't figure out why the US is deporting all of these people when the immigrant incarceration rate is so low. Yeah, the fact that we are deporting so many people is why the incarceration rate is so low. That is exactly a Fox Buterfield fallacy. He was famous for wondering why there were so many people in prison when the crime rate was dropping.

    It could not be any more plain. I get it you are for open borders. That is not an unreasonable position. What I don't get is why you and so many others on here hold that position so fanatically that you lose the ability to reason and will believe any claim that supports your position no mater how flawed.

  • ||

    It can't figure out why the US is deporting all of these people when the immigrant incarceration rate is so low.

    There's nothing in it about deportation.

    And as I have said a couple times now, incarceration rates were not the only thing studied.

  • John||

    That doesn't matter. Consider whatever factor you like but the fallacy is the same. The deportations are why the immigrant community is less criminal.

  • KDN||

    Studies suggest otherwise:

    According to a study by economists Kristin Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl, the “evidence suggests that deportation and deterrence of immigrants’ crime commission from the threat of deportation are not driving the results. Rather, immigrants appear to be self-selected to have low criminal propensities and this has increased over time.”24 The study begins by using data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses to demonstrate that immigrants have had lower incarceration rates than the native-born for quite some time, and that this effect has been growing more pronounced with each passing decade. 25 But the study then goes on to answer the question of whether these decreasing incarceration rates are the result of harsh immigration policies enacted in the 1990s, either because more immigrants were deported or because more were deterred from criminal behavior because of the threat of deportation. The answer to this question proved to be “no.”
  • John||

    And the fact that we deport criminals has no role in that self selection?

    You people will believe anything

  • KDN||

    There's plenty in it about deportation, including a spiffy pie graph done with Office's default color scheme.

  • Los Doyers||

    Shhh, he's in one of his better mind reading trances.

  • John||

    No. I am telling a joke that you are too stupid to get. Sorry, I can only dumb this stuff down so much. Eventually your room temperature IQ is just going to inhibit your ability to participate in the reindeer games.

  • Los Doyers||

    Sorry, I can only dumb this stuff down so much.

    I bet. Our tax dollars thank you for your service.

  • John||

    Sorry you are too stupid to get the joke. I don't know what else to do for you. Try thinking more.

  • Los Doyers||

    I'm just following your lead, bro!

  • Rich||

    It's OK, John. Bread on the waters.

  • colorblindkid||

    So this is based on a NYT article about a study performed by the "American Immigration Council", whose very mission is to defend immigrants? I feel like if this were about any other topic this wouldn't pass muster here.

  • Demonsong||

    You dare question that bastion of verisimilitude, the New York Times?

  • Microaggressor||

    But they did a study! And studies are science. Why are you a science denier?

  • Illocust||

    "that the incarceration rate of American-born males between 18 and 39 years of age was five times the rate of foreign-born males"

    1.) Doesn't distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants. Sans the Syrian issue (which is in a category of its own), arguments about crime center around illegal immigrants not legal ones.

    2.) Only accounts for incarceration. Possibility this does not count those deported. Further high possibility that migrant individual already hiding from police is harder to catch and charge than sedentary individual with recorded home address.

    3.) Study does not distinguish between Oriental, Latin American, Middle Eastern, European, and South African migrants. Distance, culture, and ease of migration will result in migrants with different behaviors and motivations. Lumping them together assumes facts not in evidence.

  • chemjeff||

    "2.) Only accounts for incarceration. Possibility this does not count those deported."

    It doesn't. If you go to the actual study, cited in the NYTimes article (given below), they just count the number of immigrants behind bars vs. the number of native-born behind bars.

    Immigrants who commit a crime may either be incarcerated or deported, but only the incarcerated are counted in this study. On the other hand, native-born citizens who commit a crime cannot be deported, they can only be incarcerated, so it is an example of an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    http://immigrationpolicy.org/s....._final.pdf

  • Illocust||

    Thanks chemjeff. It's getting to the end of my work day, and I really didn't want to slog through the report itself (barely wanted to read what I did of the NYtime article.).

  • PapayaSF||

    All true.

    Another point: why shouldn't we have immigration that improves the country? Why settled for "no more criminal than average"? Why import any criminals at all?

    Mrs. Bailey: "Ron, would you go to the store for some fresh vegetables? Half of ours are rotten."

    Ron: "Sure, honey."

    Ron returns an hour later. "Here you are, dear."

    Mrs. Bailey: "But Ron, half of what you bought is rotten!"

    Ron: "That's true, but that's not a higher percentage of rotten than what we already had, so we're cool."

  • CE||

    At least farmers in the Midwest USA can still grow vegetables, with AGW stopping the glaciers in their tracks.

  • Cytotoxic||

    "Why import any criminals at all?"

    Because that's the tiny price you pay for sane immigration law.

  • PapayaSF||

    You don't have the right to impose that price on me.

  • John||

    The study does seem to do some distinguishing. The real problem is that it ignores the fact that we deport aliens legal and illegal who commit serious crimes and then points to the lower incarceration rates as evidence that we need to stop doing that. It really is a textbook example of the fallacy Fox Butterfield made famous.

  • Illocust||

    That's very easy to control for, I'm surprised they didn't. All you'd have to do is only count people incarcerated for their first offense. Guess its the age old lying with statistics issue.

  • ||

    Actually it's the old "John doesn't know what he's talking about" issue.

  • John||

    Sure I don't. That is why you don't explain why I am wrong. If I am wrong explain it. Otherwise shut up.

  • ||

    They examined at least two other metrics besides incarceration rates. They compared immigrant population over time and violent/property crime rates, and they also looked at survey data about criminality and "antisocial" behaviors.

  • John||

    Again it doesn't matter. The deportations and checks against criminals getting in is why those gongs are lower.

    Why can't you reason Nikki? You are not dumb but didn't they ever teach you to think?

  • ||

    So your argument is "fake but accurate" again?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yup. That's his only one.

  • ||

  • ||

    It does not only account for incarceration. It also looked at property and violent crime statistics vs. immigrant population over time, for example.

  • KDN||

    I thought that was one of the weakest parts of the whole thing. It would have been nice to delve more into that nugget rather than simply mention it offhand a few times. This was all occurring during a period of rapidly declining crime rates; I would like some analysis that localized and compared some of that nationwide data.

  • JW||

    The New York Times today is reporting the results of a new study that, once again, finds that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are far less prone to criminality than native-born Americans are.

    Except for the fucking Dagos and Micks. Those thieving bastards will cut you down as soon as look at you.

  • Los Doyers||

    U WRE AHFTR ME LOOKI CHAHRMS

  • Swiss Servator||

    I WANT THE GREEN MOONS, HAND 'EM OVER YOU WHISKY ADDLED POTATO EATER!!!!!

  • Demonsong||

    Hey! I'm half of each of those! This will be rage-tweeted about, mark my words!

  • Pan Zagloba||

    The New York Times today is reporting the results of a new study that, once again, finds that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are far less prone to criminality than native-born Americans withouth high-school diploma are.

    Not that I buy that "immigrants" commit more crimes (sure as hell legal ones don't want to risk status they probably pissed blood to get) but come on.

    From the summary

    roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males age 18-39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born.


    Here all immigrants are compared to all native-born. Despite the fact, from what I can see, 99% of discussion is about illegal immigrants.

    In 2010, less-educated native-born men age 18-39 had an incarceration rate of 10.7 percent—more than triple the 2.8 percent rate among foreign-born Mexican men, and five times greater than the 1.7 percent rate among foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men


    So now we are closer to apples-to-apples comparison, but again, it is comparing with a specific, small segment of native population. Definition for 'less educated' is not provided for foreign-born, for natives it's 'without high-school diploma'.Quick Google search finds, about 7% of high school students drop out and do not get an equivalent by age 24.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    My quick bias disclaimer: I'm a legal immigrant, and (anecdotal evidence, not unique among legal migrants) I consider immigration to be mostly a good thing, but have little patience for queue jumpers. I also think US migration system is stupid, Canada's is better, but Canada is damn fucking lucky to have US as a goddamn wall so it shouldn't comment too much on the issue. Which I try to stay away from, usually.
    Also, Border Patrol belongs on the border, not 100 miles inland. Fuck you, go have a heatstroke and patrol the fucking desert, or quit. If they get by you, you lose and don't get to try again.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Damn, Pan. All these fucking immigration articles and finally I can agree with something.

    Well put.

  • John||

    Yes the border patrol does. It wouldn't be a hundred miles off the border if it wasn't for the drug war.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Also, Border Patrol belongs on the border, not 100 miles inland.

    Or between Monroe County and Dade County.

  • Rasilio||

    Um, if the basis of their conclusion is incarceration rates then the entire study is junk.

    There are a myriad of reasons why immigrants could commit more crimes but be incarcerated less frequently starting with the difficulty in finding and positively identifying a person who legally does not exist for illegals.

    Even among legal immigrant populations language barriers, mistrust of government, and poor relationships between the police and the community can make it all but impossible to find the perpetrator of a crime.

    Then there is one other factor this overlooks, what is the crime rate among the children of immigrants? Sure the immigrants themselves might be law abiding and just happy to have a shot at a better life, many times however because they are raising them in poor neighborhoods the real crime starts when their kids (who are American citizens) start growing up and joining/forming gangs.

    And I should note, I am not someone who is at all anti immigration nor do I actually believe that immigration in and of itself breeds crime but if I can spot the flaws in this research it is a pretty safe bet the research itself is junk

  • John||

    Rasillio,

    You are not anti-immigrant. You just have the ability to look at the evidence objectively. That is frowned upon in this establishment. Anything that supports open borders is to be believed.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    From the report:


    "In 2010, less-educated native-born men age 18-39 had an incarceration rate of 10.7 percent—more than triple the 2.8 percent rate among foreign-born Mexican men, and five times greater than the 1.7 percent rate among foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men"


    So what that stat says is men from three countries, of all ages and backgrounds, now living in US had incarceration rate one-third of American men - filtered to the demographic statistically responsible for most crime and incarceration in any modern society.


    Lies, damn lies, etc.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Well, I guess the foreign-born are also 'less-educated.' I stand corrected.

    Lies, damn lies, etc.

  • Microaggressor||

    A microlie?

  • Pat (PM)||

    This shouldn't be all that surprising in light of the fact that most immigrants in the country are legal immigrants and the US is a notoriously difficult country into which to immigrate. We're examining a population that is, for the most part, constructed by policy to include primarily college-educated wealthy individuals and their families. And on the other end of the spectrum, a population that has natural incentives to avoid law enforcement and is difficult to measure or track.

  • Free Society||

    My wife moved here on a K1 visa. While it was a pain in the ass to get her here, they were markedly less of a nuissance than the hurdles I'd have to jump so that I could immigrate to the Netherlands. Even with a valid marriage to a Dutch citizen, I'd have to show a standing job offer paying in excess of 60,000 euros per year (without ever theoretically setting foot on Dutch soil or having a work permit) and a near native level of proficiency with the Dutch language. There was some other stuff too that I don't exactly recall, but it was considerably easier to get her here as opposed to me being there.

    My first mistake though, was not claiming to be a destitute Muslim refugee with no skills, intellectual capital or cultural affinity for Europe. I'm just too damn European to move to Europe without a significant amount of red tape.

  • Pat (PM)||

    True, but then the Netherlands has a lower crime rate than the US does. Basically what I'm saying is that the more selective the process, the more likely the immigrant population is to be non-criminal. When you select for certain traits and then you get them it's not exactly an unexpected result. The thing is, Reason is in favor of a far less selective process and points to the results of a very selective process to justify it. The conclusion doesn't follow.

  • Free Society||

    True, but then the Netherlands has a lower crime rate than the US does

    Not that the US federal gubmint is distinguishing between Dutch immigrants and South African or Bengladeshi immigrants. Though I personally think they should.

    The thing is, Reason is in favor of a far less selective process and points to the results of a very selective process to justify it. The conclusion doesn't follow.

    Yeah, that's quite a disconnect but not surprising. If you're trying to argue in favor of the fundamental equality of all human beings and all conceivable groups of human beings, and I don't mean equality before the law, then you'll have perform some mental gymnastics to generate those arguments.

  • ||

    Actually, the requirements for US citizens to immigrate to Holland are much less strict than from many other non-Europe places. I had zero problem getting a work and residence permit, and the MVV (what FS was alluding to) is not required for Americans.

  • SIV||

    Ron Bailey is a sucker for any bias-confirming pseudoscience.

  • ||

    And for trolling the hell out of us.

  • R C Dean||

    Since I'm not going to read the study itself: There's a lot of different ways to slice "immigrant". Did they include people here on student visas? Green card holders?

    I'm curious about their conclusion that illegals are also less prone to crime. Since no one tracks crime by illegals per se, what was their methodology?

    But the government agencies that crunch crime numbers are utterly unable -- or unwilling -- to pinpoint for the public how many illegal immigrants are arrested within U.S. borders each year.

    In the absence of comprehensive data, FoxNews.com examined a patchwork of local, state and federal statistics that revealed a wildly disproportionate number of murderers, rapists and drug dealers are crossing into the U.S. amid the wave of hard-working families seeking a better life. The explosive figures show illegal immigrants are three times as likely to be convicted of murder as members of the general population and account for far more crimes than their 3.5-percent share of the U.S. population would suggest. Critics say it is no accident that local, state and federal governments go to great lengths to keep the data under wraps.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015.....inals.html

    I have no idea whether the Fox report or the NYT report is more accurate.

  • John||

    RC,

    The study did not track crime. They tracked incarceration rates. The took an estimate of the number of illegals in prison and then derived an incarceration rate from that and compared it to the native rate. The entire study rests on the assumption that incarceration rate and crime rate are one and the same.

  • Rasilio||

    "The entire study rests on the assumption that incarceration rate and crime rate are one and the same."

    Not quite, it rests on the assumption that incarceration rate is a good proxy for crime rate meaning the ration of incarcerated individuals to individuals guilty of a crime is approximately the same for immigrants and native born.

    The problem is there are a lot of good reasons to believe that this might not be the case and since the study doesn't make any attempt to prove that it is the study itself is meaningless junk designed to push a narrative and nothing more.

  • John||

    And it ignores the effect that controlling immigration has on the immigrant population. Even if you believe their conclusion, it just means the current system does a good job keeping criminals out. It means the exact opposite of what Reason and the authors claim

  • ||

    The study did not track crime. They tracked incarceration rates.

    The study did track crime, along with incarceration rates.

  • John||

    Just overall crime. There are no reliable statistics about immigrant crime as opposed to arrests and reported crime.

  • R C Dean||

    I wonder how many illegals, many of whom have committed some species of identity theft to get papers, or otherwise have something identifying them as a citizen, are actually arrested and go to jail with their fake IDs as citizens taken at face value. This could be a trivially small number, or not. I have no way of knowing, but I would be surprised if its zero.

    Its possible some of the "citizen" crime rate includes illegals, but I bet the "illegal" crime rate includes no citizens.

  • ||

    self reporting illegals

  • Drake||

    The Times also lumps all types of immigrants together and even throws in what's going on in Europe without making any distinctions on where the immigrants are coming from. It isn't immigration that most Americans are opposed to - it is having a wide open uncontrolled border. And yes, most don't have any desire to import large numbers of Muslims.

    Here's some of the "refugee" immigrants the Europeans aren't too fond of. They get a little surprise that is surprising for France.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHX5jsomq_U

  • XM||

    I generally agree that immigrants (especially Asians) commit less VIOLENT crime than natives, but I think there are a few things to consider.

    Illegals in this country theoretically include older folks who might have stayed here for less than 5 years. Or middle class to wealthier individuals who decided to overstay their visas. The demographics that commit the most crime among natives have been in this country for decades. A more apples to apples comparison should take other factors into account. Because a majority white midwestern state probably have less crime than a immigrant heavy urban zone like California.

    You also have to keep in mind America's unique immigration situation. We have 10,20 times the immigrant population of many other nations, EASY. And America is third or fourth largest in the world in terms of land size. The (small) criminal element of immigrants can blend into ethnic zones and never be found. Lots of Asians used to flee the country after beating their wives and or to evade debt, although that might be difficult post 9/11.

    No one's under any illusion that there isn't prostitution, underage drinking, wage theft, exploitation and ethnocentrism among immigrant zones. They're just not violent crimes or they go unnoticed. The ruling class puts immigrants on a pedestal and won't enforce the laws. That's why the nail salon industry could make their own arrangements until the NYT decided to embellish their practices.

  • ||

    Again, in these discussions 'immigrants' are talked about as if they are a homogenous group. This is not the case.

    The numbers of people who practice female circumcision are highest among immigrants. This does not mean that immigrants from brazil are more prone to the practice than native americans.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime."

    Every study I've seen that shows this, also shows that the measure is against native born Americans in the same socioeconomic group. It's not that immigrants necessarily commit fewer crimes than ALL native born Americans. It's that they commit fewer crimes than native born Americans who are just as poor as immigrants.

    It should also be noted that immigrants tend to have more children than native born Americans and that their children and grandchildren tend to sink to the same crime rate level as native born Americans of the same socioeconomic level as they become more Americanized.

    This might suggest that although immigrants are no worse than Americans of the same socioeconomic level by a person to person comparison--average American to average immigrant--because far more of them end up on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, they may contribute to the crime rate, not on a per capita basis but in terms of the absolute number of crimes.

    I'm a quasi-open borders guy myself. I'm just sayin'.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "although immigrants are no worse than Americans of the same socioeconomic level by a person to person comparison--average American to average immigrant--because far more of them end up on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, they may contribute to the crime rate, not on a per capita basis but in terms of the absolute number of crimes."

    Not sure that came out right . . .

    If the crime rate of native born poor people is .004 . . .

    And the crime rate of immigrants is .003 . . .

    Then if the growth rate of immigrants is double the growth rate of the native born poor, immigrants are contributing to the overall crime rate in a really big way--especially if the crime rate in the native born middle class is .0001.

    And that's despite having a lower crime rate than native born Americans of the same socioeconomic level.

  • Mark Martinson||

    As someone who was a public defender, I can say that this article is ridiculous. Certain groups commit crimes which aren't reported, certain groups flee the US or skip town when charged, etc. All of this changes the statistics.

    Say you are "Juan Fernandez" from El Salvador and get arrested. You just skip town and the charges get dropped.

    In addition, domestic abuse and statutory rape aren't reported in the Hispanic community. So if there are statistics that say Hispanics commit statutory rape at a lower rate than natives such statistics aren't reflective.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Another hole in anti-immigration arguments. Another frenzy of yokels yelling "REALITY IS WRONG".

    Almost every study of this subject does not find any correlation between immigration-legal or illegal-and crime.

  • John Rohan||

    Here we go again. This has nothing to do with immigrants being better people than US citizens. There are a lot of factors that this article isn't considering.

    1. If you are applying it to the current political debate on illegal immigration, these numbers are meaningless. The NYT study applies to immigrants in general, not specifically illegal immigrants. Even if you discount the fact that all 100% of illegal immigrants broke the law crossing the border/overstaying visa to begin with, crimes like identity theft are rampant among them.

    2. Legal immigrants (like my own spouse, btw) have to get a police background check before getting permanent residence in the United States.

    3. On average, immigrants have spent less time in the USA than native born citizens, so they have had less time to rack up a criminal record. For example, let's take two 30 year old men: Jose, the immigrant, has been here for three years, while Joe, the US citizen has lived here all of his 30 years. Joe has lived here 10 times as long as Jose, and so has had 10 times the amount of time to commit a crime. The only fair way to compare the two would be to compare to their lifelong criminal records, not just their record while in the USA.

    4. We can also assume crime is underreported in the immigrant community, particularly the illegal immigrant community, since they want to have as little contact with law enforcement as possible.

  • 7MattW||

    Most to least crime by group:
    1. black americans
    2. nativ born hispanic americans
    3. immigrant hispanics
    4. white americans

    Any critique of the crime rates of native born americans is a critique of blacks more than anyone else. Bringing in more hispanics is not the answer to any kind of crime problem like the title of this post implies.

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