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

Submitted by: LWong 0

No. While the bulk of the studies in this list for which we identified answers agrees with this conclusion, some studies came to different conclusions. We encourage you to consider each of the studies for yourself to understand why they differ.
This short answer was generated by aggregating the answers that each of the 44 studies below gave to the question (as indicated by State of K members) and adjusting for source quality and other factors. If key studies are missing or the answers attributed to individual studies are incorrect, the above answer could be wrong. For medical questions, don't rely on the information here. Consult a medical professional.


Chart summary of 44 studies examining this question
Showing up to 10 at a time

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Literature Reviews
Although we recommend you consider all of the studies below, we believe the following studies are literature reviews, which survey and evaluate many studies on this question:
Additional Recommended Studies Not in this List (yet)

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Do undocumented immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans?
10 studies
Submitted by: EZabel 110

Does deporting undocumented immigrants reduce crime?
3 studies
Submitted by: GFarahani 0

Does granting legal status to undocumented immigrants reduce their likelihood of committing crime?
5 studies
Submitted by: PSingh 0

Do undocumented immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans?
10 studies
Submitted by: EZabel 110

Add question
What additional question do you want someone who searches for "do legal immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans" to consider?

SUMMARIES OF STUDIES
Total studies in list: 44 showing 20 studies at a time
Sorted by publication year
41
On Immigration and Crime
"The connection between immigration and crime is one of the mostcontentious topics in contemporary society. These discussions are notnew, as debates on the issue date back more than 100 years. A generalpoint on which both pro- and anti-immigration writers agree is that,as we enter the new millennium, the latest wave of immigration islikely to have a more important impact on society than any othersocial issue. In this essay, we survey the vast body of theoretical andempirical works on the relationship between immigration and crimein 20th-century America. Throughout, we include new writings aswell as older, sometimes neglected works. \n\nWe discuss three majortheoretical perspectives that have guided explanations of the immigration/crimelink: opportunity structure, cultural approaches, andsocial disorganization. We also examine empirical studies of immigrantinvolvement in crime. We conclude with a review of publicopinion about immigrants, especially as it relates to immigrants andcrime, and then provide original data on the connection between publicopinion and immigrant crime.\n \nThere are important reasons to believe that immigrants should beinvolved in crime to a greater degree than native-born Americans. Forexample, immigrants face acculturation and assimilation problemsthat most natives do not, and immigrants tend to settle in disorganized neighborhoods characterized by structural characteristics often associatedwith crime, such as widespread poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, and a preponderanceof young males. However, despite claims by pundits and writers thathigh levels of “immigrant crime” are an unavoidable product of immigration,scholars rarely produce any systematic evidence of this recentlyreemerging social problem.\n \n Although a host of reasons exists to expect that immigrants are high-crimeprone, the bulk of empirical studies conducted over the past century havefound that immigrants are typically underrepresented in criminal statistics.There are some partial exceptions to this finding, but these appear to belinked more to differences in structural conditions across urban areas whereimmigrants settle rather than to the cultural traditions of the immigrantgroups. Local context is a central influence shaping the criminal involvementof both immigrants and natives, but in many cases, compared withnative groups, immigrants seem better able to withstand crime-facilitatingconditions than native groups. \n\nIn conclusion, this review suggests that nativegroups would profit from a better understanding of how immigrant groupsfaced with adverse social conditions maintain low rates of crime."
AUTHORS
Matthew T. Lee
Ramiro Martinez Jr.
PUBLISHED
2000 in Criminal Justice
UNRANKED SOURCE
Literature Review
No
No
42
Sociological Criminology and the Mythology of Hispanic Immigration and Crime
"Our sociological knowledge of crime is fragmented and ineffective in challenging and correcting mistaken public perceptions, for example, linking immigration and crime. These misperceptions are perpetuated by government reports of growing numbers of Hispanic immigrants in U.S. prisons. \n\nHowever, Hispanic immigrants are disproportionately young males who regardless of citizenship are at greater risk of criminal involvement. They are also more vulnerable to restrictive treatment in the criminal justice system, especially at the pre-trial stage. When these differences are integrated into calculations using equations that begin with observed numbers of immigrants and citizens in state prisons, it is estimated that the involvement of Hispanic immigrants in crime is less than that of citizens. \n\nThese results cast doubt on the hypothesis that immigration causes crime and make more transparent the immigration and criminal justice policies that inflate the rate of Hispanic incarceration. This transparency helps to resolve a paradox in the picture of Mexican immigration to the United States, since by most measures of well-being, Mexican immigrants are found to do as well and sometimes better than citizens."
AUTHORS
Alberto Palloni
John Hagan
PUBLISHED
1999 in Social Problems
High quality source
No
No
43
Immigration and the Ethnic Distribution of Homicide in Miami, 1985-1995
"This article extends the city-level research tradition initiated by Marvin E. Wolfgang in a unique comparison of immigrant (Haitian, Latino) and native born (Anglo, African American) criminal homicide in the city of Miami, Florida. Although previous research has been limited primarily to Anglo and African American victims and offenders, direct access to Miami police records on 1,450 homicides for the period 1985 through 1995 allowed the authors to compare the homicide risk of Anglos, African Americans, Haitians, and Latinos. \n\nAlthough current policy debates focus on immigration as a contributing factor to rising crime rates, the results indicate that the groups with higher proportions of foreign-born members have comparatively low homicide rates. The findings underscore the need to extend homicide research to include diverse ethnic groups in designs that attempt to disentangle the relative influence of social conditions, ethnicity, and immigration on patterns of criminal homicide."
AUTHORS
Matthew T. Lee
Ramiro Martinez Jr.
PUBLISHED
1998 in Homicide Studies
High quality source
No
No
44
Cross-city Evidence on the Relationship between Immigration and Crime
"Public concerns about the costs of immigration and crime are high, and sometimes overlapping. This article investigates the relationship between immigration into a metropolitan area and that area's crime rate during the 1980s. Using data from the Uniform Crime Reports and the Current Population Surveys, we find, in the cross section, that cities with high crime rates tend to have large numbers of immigrants.\n\nHowever, controlling for the demographic characteristics of the cities, recent immigrants appear to have no effect on crime rates. In explaining changes in a city's crime rate over time, the flow of immigrants again has no effect, whether or not we control for other city-level characteristics. In a secondary analysis of individual data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), we find that youth born abroad are statistically significantly less likely than native-born youth to be criminally active."
AUTHORS
Anne Morrison Piehl
Kristin F. Butcher
PUBLISHED
1998 in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
High quality source
No
No







ADDITIONAL STUDIES TO CONSIDER ADDING TO LIST
Total additional studies: 7
State of K's algorithms generated the list of studies below based on the studies that were added to the above list. Some of these studies may also examine: "Do legal immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans?" If a study examines this question, add it to the list by pressing the button.

Only add studies that examine the same question. Do not add studies that are merely on the same topic.

Immigration, crime, and incarceration in early twentieth-century America.
"The major government commissions on immigration and crime in the early twentieth century relied on evidence that suffered from aggregation bias and the absence of accurate population data, which led them to present partial and sometimes misleading views of the immigrant-native criminality comparison. With improved data and methods, we find that in 1904, prison commitment rates for more serious crimes were quite similar by nativity for all ages except ages 18 and 19, for which the commitment rate for immigrants was higher than for the native-born. By 1930, immigrants were less likely than natives to be committed to prisons at all ages 20 and older, but this advantage disappears when one looks at commitments for violent offenses. The time series pattern reflects a growing gap between natives and immigrants at older ages, one that was driven by sharp increases in the commitment rates of the native-born, while commitment rates for the foreign-born were remarkably stable."
AUTHORS
Anne Morrison Piehl
Carolyn Moehling
PUBLISHED

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Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona
"Using newly released detailed data on all prisoners who entered the Arizona state prison from January 1985 through June 2017, we are able to separate non-U.S. citizens by whether they are illegal or legal residents. Unlike other studies, these data do not rely on self-reporting of criminal backgrounds. Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. There are dramatic differences between in the criminal histories of convicts who are U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.

Young convicts are especially likely to be undocumented immigrants. While undocumented immigrants from 15 to 35 years of age make up slightly over two percent of the Arizona population, they make up about eight percent of the prison population. Even after adjusting for the fact that young people commit crime at higher rates, young undocumented immigrants commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. These undocumented immigrants also tend to commit more serious crimes.

If undocumented immigrants committed crime nationally as they do in Arizona, in 2016 they would have been responsible for over 1,000 more murders, 5,200 rapes, 8,900 robberies, 25,300 aggravated assaults, and 26,900 burglaries."
PUBLISHED

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Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona
NGO FUNDING
This organization does not disclose its donors
"Using newly released detailed data on all prisoners who entered the Arizona state prison from January 1985 through June 2017, we are able to separate non-U.S. citizens by whether they are illegal or legal residents. Unlike other studies, these data do not rely on self-reporting of criminal backgrounds. Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. There are dramatic differences between in the criminal histories of convicts who are U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.

Young convicts are especially likely to be undocumented immigrants. While undocumented immigrants from 15 to 35 years of age make up slightly over two percent of the Arizona population, they make up about eight percent of the prison population. Even after adjusting for the fact that young people commit crime at higher rates, young undocumented immigrants commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. These undocumented immigrants also tend to commit more serious crimes.

If undocumented immigrants committed crime nationally as they do in Arizona, in 2016 they would have been responsible for over 1,000 more murders, 5,200 rapes, 8,900 robberies, 25,300 aggravated assaults, and 26,900 burglaries."
AUTHOR
John R. Lott
PUBLISHED
2018 by Crime Prevention Research Center (NGO)

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Are Immigrants More Likely Than Native-Born Americans to Perpetrate Intimate Partner Violence?
"Despite an emerging body of research indicating that immigrants are less likely than native-born Americans to engage in crime and antisocial behavior, less attention has focused specifically on intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration among immigrant populations. We address this gap by using data from Wave II of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and compare immigrants from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America to native-born Americans with respect to multiple forms of IPV. After controlling for an extensive array of confounds, results indicate that in the aggregate, immigrants are significantly more likely to perpetrate IPV. However, examination of major world regions indicates these results are driven by Latin American immigrants. Immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Europe report a lower prevalence of IPV perpetration than native-born Americans. This study extends prior research on the immigrant paradox and suggests that future studies take into account regional heterogeneity when examining IPV and other forms of violence in immigrant populations. "
AUTHORS
Matthew Larson
Brandy R. Maynard
Shannon Cooper-Sadlo
Christopher P. Salas-Wright
Michael G. Vaughn
PUBLISHED
2015 in Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Add to List
Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona
NGO FUNDING
This organization does not disclose its donors
"Using newly released detailed data on all prisoners who entered the Arizona state prison from January 1985 through June 2017, we are able to separate non-U.S. citizens by whether they are illegal or legal residents. Unlike other studies, these data do not rely on self-reporting of criminal backgrounds. Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. There are dramatic differences between in the criminal histories of convicts who are U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.

Young convicts are especially likely to be undocumented immigrants. While undocumented immigrants from 15 to 35 years of age make up slightly over two percent of the Arizona population, they make up about eight percent of the prison population. Even after adjusting for the fact that young people commit crime at higher rates, young undocumented immigrants commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. These undocumented immigrants also tend to commit more serious crimes.

If undocumented immigrants committed crime nationally as they do in Arizona, in 2016 they would have been responsible for over 1,000 more murders, 5,200 rapes, 8,900 robberies, 25,300 aggravated assaults, and 26,900 burglaries."
AUTHOR
John R. Lott
PUBLISHED
2018 by Crime Prevention Research Center (NGO)

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The immigrant paradox: immigrants are less antisocial than native-born Americans.
"Purpose: Although recent research on crime and violence among immigrants suggests a paradox--where immigrants are more socially disadvantaged yet less likely to commit crime--previous research is limited by issues of generalizability and assessment of the full depth of antisocial behavior.

Methods: We surmount these limitations using data from waves I and II of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and compare immigrants (N = 7,320) from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America to native-born Americans (N = 34,622) with respect to violent and nonviolent forms of antisocial behavior.

Results: After controlling for an extensive array of confounds, results indicate that immigrants are significantly less antisocial despite being more likely to have lower levels of income, less education, and reside in urban areas. These findings hold for immigrants from major regions of the world including Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Conclusions: This study confirms and extends prior research on crime and antisocial behavior, but suggests that it is premature however to think of immigrants as a policy intervention for treating high crime areas.

"
AUTHORS
Matt DeLisi
Brandy R Maynard
Michael G Vaughn
Christopher P Salas-Wright
PUBLISHED
2014 in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

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Punishing Immigrants
"Arizona’s controversial new immigration bill is just the latest of many steps in the new criminalization of immigrants. While many cite the presumed criminality of illegal aliens as an excuse for ever-harsher immigration policies, it has in fact been well-established that immigrants commit less crime, and in particular less violent crime, than the native-born and that their presence in communities is not associated with higher crime rates. Punishing Immigrants moves beyond debunking the presumed crime and immigration linkage, broadening the focus to encompass issues relevant to law and society, immigration and refugee policy, and victimization, as well as crime. The original essays in this volume uncover and identify the unanticipated and hidden consequences of immigration policies and practices here and abroad at a time when immigration to the U.S. is near an all-time high. Ultimately, Punishing Immigrants illuminates the nuanced and layered realities of immigrants’ lives, describing the varying complexities surrounding immigration, crime, law, and victimization. Podcast: Susan Bibler Coutin, on the process and effects of deportation —Listen here."
AUTHORS
Ramiro Martínez
Marjorie S. Zatz
Charis E. Kubrin
PUBLISHED
2012 in NYU Press

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QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Do undocumented immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans?
10 studies
Submitted by: EZabel 110

Does deporting undocumented immigrants reduce crime?
3 studies
Submitted by: GFarahani 0

Does granting legal status to undocumented immigrants reduce their likelihood of committing crime?
5 studies
Submitted by: PSingh 0

Do undocumented immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans?
10 studies
Submitted by: EZabel 110

Add question
What additional question do you want someone who searches for "do legal immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans" to consider?