Crime and immigrants

This is really a question with a factual answer, but given that it’s politically charged, I am putting it here. The mods can, of course, move it if they see fit.

I read recently (I believe it was an article by David Frum) that while immigrants as a whole commit crimes at a lower rate than the general population, certain groups commit crimes at a higher rate (IIRC, Mexicans or Latinos in general according to the article). Is there any truth to this?


To quote the very conservative Cato report

In 100’s of pages of debates I have not seen any credible cites that discount that claim.

Actual facts seem to have little utility in the debate. A linchpin of rightie thought is that they’re committing a crime just being here.

Not every immigrant is “illegal”, some are here legally.

Note that the cost is very high for victims of the new policy, due to a fear of deportation rape and domestic violence victims have significantly reduced their crime reporting.

As these individuals are unable to access the legal system crimes will increase as the perpetrators attack other victims or if the community feels that they have to take justice into their own hands.

Note that ensuring that criminals are brought to justice for far more serious crimes committed by people who do put everyone at risk is one of the major reasons sanctuary cities existed in the first place.

As the local municipalities cannot adjust the misguided immigration law due to pre-emption their intent was to ensure that violent criminals are brought to justice. They cannot do so if victims cannot come forward.

CNN just had an article saying how American workers are being replaced by refugees because Americans fail drug tests at too high a rate:

Immigrant crime does seem to be lower, but there are caveats to that data. For one, illegal immigrants end up committing criminal acts pretty regularly: driving without a license, fake documents(felony) or identity theft(bigtime felony), and that often leads to more fraud(applying for a home loan or credit card or car loan). A lot of this doesn’t show up in statistics because the federal government has not been particularly interested in going after it too much. But as Joe Arpaio showed, if you look for identity theft, you’ll find it.

Almost none of those happen in sanctuary cities/states.

This is another large reason my State Washington is non-compliant with the “Real ID” law. We will give people who are residents who pass the test a drivers license so that they can also get insurance.

Just like prohibition the issues are mostly caused by people filling a market demand despite federal laws. But it is the sanctuary cities/states that have the moral high ground in most of these cases.

It is pretty hard to make changes at the federal level when lots of law makers or their constituents are against temporary work programs or immigration because they want to keep America white.

While there are other aspects to the argument the main blocker to changes is due to that paranoia of “white” culture disappearing. This fear is also how these groups who tend to claim to be for states rights want to destroy state sovereignty to force states to enforce federal laws.

Unfortunately like prohibition it feeds the alternative economies and criminal gangs and does little to change the original targets.

Of course it’s true. Border jumpers have at least a 100% crime rate by definition. Anyone who tries to conflate legal immigration and illegal immigration is 1) trying to trick you or 2) a bigot.

Immigrants seem to commit crimes at a lower rate so the more immigration the crime rate should go down while the number of crimes goes up. This leads to people talking past each other on this topic.

Immigrants can actually have a negative crime rate impact. That is, lots of law-abiding immigrants in a neighborhood can reduce crimes by non-immigrants. So both the crime rate and the number of crimes can go down from immigration.

100% of drivers run stop signs, speed or use their cellphone when driving. By definition anyone who drives have at least a 100% crime rate.

One of the “Raids” this week was to arrest an individual who was brought to this country as a child. A universal moral judgement is not an absolute in these cases.

That’s a good point. measuring crime can be difficult if enforcement is inadequate, such as with driving laws. The vast majority of drivers are criminal, but traffic enforcement is more about revenue than safety, so it’s hard to get a really good read on just how many criminal drivers there are.

THat’s why most crime rates center on things like murder, rape, assault, and robbery. Those crimes are fought vigorously by pretty much all police forces and so you can better get apples to apples comparisons among different cities and different demographic groups.

Which crime, which country and which immigrants are you talking about?

Europe does have significant problems with crime among particular immigrant groups (I’ve cited to the link about South Asian sex crimes in Britain plenty of times before). America doesn’t, really.

Latinos don’t have a high crime rate once you correct for age structure. (They have a somewhat higher homicide rate than white people but that’s because they are more likely to be young, and young people commit more homicides). Among Latino subgroups, Mexicans have a lower crime rate than the US norm, Puerto Ricans (who are not immigrants) and Dominicans are higher than the norm. More than half of US Latinos are Mexican though.

This is both (1) false; and (2) misleading. But I won’t question your motives.

It’s false because many people who cross the border without permission have not committed a crime (such as those seeking asylum or those who are too young to have criminal intent).

It’s misleading because people who cross the border without permission account for a minority of the total number of people here without status.

FWIW, the Cato Institute is libertarian, not conservative. Libertarians tend to support immigration (as they tend to oppose government control of anything).

As to substance, the key question is what they’re normalizing things for. Meaning, they are presumably normalizing the comparable rates for age and gender. Are they also normalizing it for socioeconomic status? If they are, then it’s not a very meaningful comparison.

It’s not completely clear from that report, but they seem to be normalizing in this manner, e.g. on page 45 where they restrict the comparison to high school dropouts versus high school dropouts.