Immigration Impact on Crime

Are immigration and crime interrelated?

The earlier studies of immigration and crime showed that during 20th century immigrant population had lower rates of involvement in criminal activities than natives. The state, federal and local governments also made great efforts tracking the immigration status of many criminal offenders to determine whether they were native or foreign-born. While many data experts concluded that immigration is totally different aspect from crime rate, the law enforcement officials continued to hold immigration as one of major responsible aspect for rise in US criminal activity.

Important findings of 20th and 21st centuries:

  • During the years 1910 to 1917, the reformation of immigration laws made the criminal policies more rigid and expanded the grounds for immigrant deportation when involved in any criminal activity.
  • There were many debates regarding the issues on crime rates interlinked with immigration. In 1911, the Federal Immigration Commission concluded that federal laws were not strictly regularized to exclude criminal foreigners.
  • With the increase in the population of illegal immigrants the crime rates also relatively grew higher initially during 1990s and gradually decreased in the early 2000s.
  • As per the data statistics of the Department of Homeland security during the period from 1998 to 2007, about 816,000 foreign born criminals were sent back to their countries from America for  criminal charge and conviction which accounted for almost equal to the one fifth of the nation’s total jail or prison population.
  • Another major concern that troubled US in mid 2000s was the unauthorized entry of immigrants from Latin America resulting in unsafe and unsecure borders with increase in drug violence and drug trafficking.
  • The creation of tough Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070 supported many strict rules pertaining to immigration that resulted in declination of national crime rate and illegal immigration from 2007 to 2009.

Immigrants especially the minority groups get easily victimized to the criminal activities for various reasons like racism and discrimination, poor economic back grounds, lack of education and crime over generations.

Important analysis on immigrant criminal activity:

  • It was assessed that the 2nd generation immigrants particularly the children of foreign born nationals had higher crime rates when compared to the generations of native born.
  • Immigrant criminality and incarceration varied enormously based on age, gender, poverty, education and environmental surroundings.
  • The legal immigrants involved in less criminal actions compared to illegal aliens as they were screened before coming to US along with many checks on their criminal records.
  • Studies proved that the illegal alien incarceration is particularly higher in some ethnic groups and communities.

Even today some of the State’s US Border security Patrol implement tough rules and enforce safety measures to avoid the illegal entries and criminal activities.