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Do legal immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans?

No. Legal immigrants do not commit more crime than native-born Americans. We believe this is the best available short answer based on our reading of the 46 studies we found that examine this question.

The 46 studies were published from 1997 to 2017. Thirty-four studies supported this answer, 23 of which suggest that legal immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans. Two studies found evidence to the contrary. Seven studies reached either mixed conclusions or did not believe a conclusion could be drawn from the data either way. We could not determine the conclusions of four studies in this list.

Although we recommend you consider all of the studies below, the studies that we believe have examined this question in the most comprehensive way are: Keep in mind that we strive to only include studies that directly address this question. Evidence from studies focusing on other questions may indirectly support or undermine our conclusion.

There are also 3 studies that may be relevant to this question. If they are relevant, let us know and we will consider adding them to the list below and updating this answer accordingly.

Last updated: Dec. 11, 2017
Author of narrative summary: State of K

Summaries of Studies

Number of studies that examine this question: 46
Number of additional studies that may be relevant: 3
Sorted by: Publication Year
List created by:
Hercules Mulligan, Professor at Sample University
List edited by: Maria Reynolds, Charles Lee

Additional Studies to Consider Adding to List

Note: These are studies that were either published after this list was last edited or that previous editors may have overlooked. Let us know if you think a study examines this question. If you think it does, we will consider adding it to the list and updating the above answer accordingly.

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