Study: What Immigrant Crime Wave?
A new study by Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson finds that rising immigration rates in communities do not result in rising crime rates.
studied crime and immigration in 180 neighborhoods in Chicago over seven years, found that first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violent acts than third generation Americans.
"Immigrants have lower rates of crime and there is a negative correlation between the trends," Sampson said in an interview.
The results of Sampson's study showed that incentive to work, ambition and a desire not to be deported were common reasons cited for first generation immigrants, especially Mexicans, not to commit crimes.
Sampson also studied data from police records, the U.S Census and surveyed more than 8,000 Chicago residents. The study showed there was significant immigration growth, including illegal aliens-in the mid-1990s, peaking at the end of the decade.
But during that time the national homicide rate plunged. Crime also dropped in immigration hot spots, such as Los Angeles, where it fell 45 percent overall, San Jose, Dallas and Phoenix.
I hope this is one myth we can now leave behind us. It matches another study I wrote about here, urging an end to the politics of bigotry and fear .
The vast majority of immigrants in this country, whether present with or without proper papers, are hardworking, law-abiding people with strong family ties. They are little different from the immigrants of 100 years ago. They are not stealing our jobs or draining scant public resources. They pay taxes and help make our country a better place for all of us.
Most immigrants enter the country legally. According to the INS Statistical Yearbook, 75 percent of immigrants have legal, permanent visas. Of the 25 percent who are undocumented, 40 percent overstayed temporary visas, meaning their initial entry into the country was legal.
Immigration does not breed crime. Our prisons are not overflowing because of crimes by the undocumented. They are overflowing because of our failed criminal justice policies and over reliance on incarceration versus treatment and rehabilitation with respect to our nonviolent homegrown offenders.
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