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Immigration and Crime

Title: Immigration and Crime: What’s the Connection?.
Name(s): Mears, Daniel P., author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Journal Article
Date Issued: 2002-04-01
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Throughout the past century, American citizens and policymakers have expressed concern about immigration and crime, and especially the nexus of the two. The concerns appear to be driven by sudden increases in immigration and crime or by political or economic events. Whatever the proximate cause, immigration and crime are viewed as inextricably linked. We should anticipate, therefore, a firmly developed set of supporting facts. Immigrants presumably are more likely to commit crimes than non-immigrants, cities with greater proportions of immigrants must have higher crime rates, and nationally, when immigration increases, crime increases as well. Presumably, too, research refutes the notion that immigrants commit less crime than non-immigrants or that immigrant crime is attributable to the social conditions immigrants face in U.S. society. Such firmly established research would suggest relatively obvious policy implications for controlling crime in the U.S. For example, policymakers might want to restrict immigration, legal or illegal, or increase law enforcement efforts aimed at incarcerating immigrant offenders. There is, however, one problem: Research to date has been plagued by considerable methodological problems, including reliance on the least useful and least accurate sources of data. Ironically, this research suggests that immigrants are less, not more, criminal than non-immigrants, and that immigration rates are largely unassociated with crime rates. This article reviews these and other issues. Specifically, it discusses research on the immigration-crime nexus and then identifies key issues relevant to understanding both the limitations of existing data and studies and the directions future research should explore. The article concludes by outlining several policy implications.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1548280311_e27cb62c (IID), 10.1525/fsr.2002.14.5.284 (DOI)
Publication Note: The version of record can be found at
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Federal Sentencing Reporter.
Issue: iss. 5, vol. 15

Choose the citation style.
Mears, D. P. (2002). Immigration and Crime: What’s the Connection? Federal Sentencing Reporter. Retrieved from