How non-citizen federal arrest numbers obscure fact that immigration leads to less crime

May 2017

Citing a Department of Justice report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said recently that 42 percent of defendants charged in U.S. district courts are non-citizens, according to a Washington Post story. The implication? That undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate share of crimes.

First off, since state and local agencies handle most law enforcement, immigration violations make up a large portion -- nearly half -- of federal arrests. But the question remains: are crime and immigration linked?

Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society, has conducted a meta-analysis of 51 studies on the relationship between immigration and crime, which will be published in the inaugural issue of the Annual Review of Criminology. Most of the studies Kubrin analyzed found no relationship. But among those that did, it was 2.5 times more likely that immigration caused a drop in crime, rather than a rise.

"Where you have immigrants, you have less violent crime. Period," Kubrin told the Post.

Read the story.