Monday, August 3, 2015

Immigration Article of the Day: The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States by Walter A. Ewing, Daniel E. Martinez, Rubén G. Rumbaut

The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States by Walter A. Ewing (American Immigration Council), Daniel E. Martinez (George Washington University), Rubén G. Rumbaut (University of California, Irvine), July 1, 2015.  American Immigration Council Special Report, July 2015

Abstract: For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime:

(1)  immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and

(2)  high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.

This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term. But immigration policy is often shaped more by fear and stereotype than by empirical evidence. As a result, immigrants have the stigma of “criminality” ascribed to them by an ever-evolving assortment of laws and immigration-enforcement mechanisms. Immigrants are being defined more and more as threats. Whole new classes of “felonies” have been created which apply only to immigrants, deportation has become a punishment for even minor offenses, and policies aimed at trying to end unauthorized immigration have been made more punitive rather than more rational and practical. In short, immigrants themselves are being criminalized.

BLOGGER'S NOTE:  This report is truly a "must read" for those interested in the contemporary discussion of Donald Trump's incendiary comments about Mexican immigrants as being criminals, the Kate Steinle tragedy, and immigration and immigration reform generally.


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