A study led by researchers from the University at Buffalo has confirmed that there is no link connecting immigration patterns with higher levels of crime.
Publishing their findings in the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Robert Adelman and colleagues found strong, stable evidence pointing to a lack of connection between immigration and crime in metropolitan areas in the United States. In fact, in locations where there are plenty of immigrants, murder, larceny, burglaries, and robberies were actually lower.
Immigration And Crime In The United States
Given the current political environment in the United States, Adelman said facts are critical, and their study offers empirical evidence debunking the idea that having more immigrants leads to more crimes.
Using offense and arrest data, previous works have also shown that foreigners, on the overall, are less likely to be involved in crimes compared to Americans born in the country.
For the current study, however, the researchers veered away from assessing immigrants individually. Instead, they explored if large-scale immigration patterns in communities can be connected to spikes in crime that have been associated with changes within cities, such as the belief that immigrants lead to fewer work openings for domestic workers or fewer economic opportunities.
Drawing from a sample comprising 200 metropolitan areas based on the U.S. Census Bureau, the researchers utilized census data, as well as the FBI's crime reporting data gathered between 1970 and 2010. They are not saying that immigrants are incapable of crime, but their work does offer proof that metropolitan areas experiencing demographic changes influenced by immigrants do not see a spike in any kind of crime for the same time period. Typically, crime levels were stable, if not lower, in communities with a lot of immigrants.
"The results are very clear," Adelman said, but noted that more research will have to be done to explore the relationship associating immigrants and crime with each other.
The results of their work already support earlier conclusions from other studies that immigrants generally have a positive effect on U.S. economic and social life.
"It's important to base our public policies on facts and evidence rather than ideologies and baseless claims that demonize particular segments of the U.S. population without any facts to back them up," Adelman added.
Trump Immigration Ban
Just days after being sworn into office, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran from entering the country for 90 days on the account that it is to protect the United States from terrorist threat.
Aside from barring access for citizens of the seven countries mentioned, the executive order also put a limit on the number of refugees that would be allowed U.S. entry for the year, going from 110,000 to 50,000. It also put on hold all Syrian refugees seeking asylum In the country indefinitely.
"I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical islamic terrorists out of the United States of America," Trump said while signing the executive order.
A New York federal judge, however, blocked part of the executive order, ruling that no individual from any of the seven specified countries can be deported if they have valid immigrant visas.
An appeal requesting the ban's reinstatement was dismissed last week, with a three-judge panel unanimously rejecting the administration's presidential authority claim.