Studying the Intersection Between Crime and Immigration

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Professors may dismiss the link between immigration and crime whether it exists or not. I went to a conclave at Georgetown Law last summer that clearly bought into the “not” proposition.

Nevertheless, the facts seem to stack up in the opposite direction. “While there are other issues, the biggest problem with studying immigrant crime is that states and localities do not systematically track the country of birth, citizenship, or legal status of those they arrest, convict, or incarcerate,” Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) observes. “But the federal government does track the citizenship of those it convicts.”

“New data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that of those convicted of federal crimes between 2011 and 2016, 44.2 percent were not U.S. citizens — 21.4 percent if immigration crimes are excluded. In comparison, non-citizens are 8.4 percent of the adult population. Of this 8.4 percent, about 4 percent are illegal immigrants and about 4 percent are legal immigrants.”