Many current candidates for president have been repeatedly associating immigration in the United States to a growing crime rate, claiming that crime will be reduced if immigrants are forced to leave. In fact, it has been an often long-held belief by many people in the U.S. that a large number of immigrants in a neighborhood constitutes a danger to that community. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a Gallup poll in recent years demonstrated that a significant percentage of Americans believe it is “extremely important” to increase border security.
A recent report titled “The Integration of Immigrants into American Society,” however, demonstrates that the assertion that the number of immigrants in the country increases the crime rate is unfounded. The report was developed and presented by a number of immigration academics and experts who analyzed data gathered over the past 20 years. To the contrary, the report indicates that neighborhoods with growing immigrant populations actually see a decrease in crime.
This decrease in crime could be for many different reasons, according to the researchers. For instance, if immigrants flee a life of poverty or war, their goal in the U.S. is to establish a stable and peaceful life for themselves and their families.
While the data in the report demonstrates the overall crime rate may decrease in largely immigrant neighborhoods, it does not mean that immigrants do not commit crimes. However, the researchers found most crimes are committed by immigrants who have already assimilated to the culture in the U.S. and who have learned English. For example, children of immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than their parents. Additionally, though there is an immigrant crime rate, the number of incarcerated individuals born in the U.S. far outweighs the number of incarcerated individuals who were foreign-born.
While this data cannot be interpreted to mean that culture in the U.S. encourages crime, the report does encourage people to stray from the traditional–and inaccurate–view that immigration only increases criminal activity in neighborhoods throughout the United States. Furthermore, perhaps the presidential candidates should examine such studies prior to making sweeping assumptions about the individuals who choose to immigrate to this country and maybe the focus should be on encouraging a path to lawful presence instead of blocking the borders.
Whether or not the presidential candidates or the American public believe that immigration is a problem to be addressed does not change the fact that it is important to abide by the current immigration laws and regulations set in place in the U.S. At the Chicago law office of Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, our immigration attorneys strive to help as many clients as possible successfully navigate the immigration process to ensure they are lawfully in the United States and are not living in fear of legal consequences. If you are facing any type of immigration matter, please call our office as soon as possible at 312-332-2550 for help with your case.
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The KB&A Team