Being Undocumented Shouldn’t Mean Being Victimized by Criminals

The Myth of the Immigrant Crime Wave

No one wants to be the victim of crime. The possibility of being victimized by a criminal would make anyone anxious. Fear of crimes committed by immigrants is being created and manipulated by the Trump administration in an effort to create support for its anti-immigrant agenda. We don’t think straight when we’re in fear and are more likely to respond to that fear — two things that politicians are trying to use to their advantage.

If facts and cold, hard logic drove the country’s debate on immigration, immigrants wouldn’t be blamed for creating problems in society. President Trump, when he ran for election and now that he’s in office, uses claims that immigrants bring crime into America to target the country’s “sanctuary cities.” These are cities whose governments have chosen to limit their cooperation with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Though many Americans believe immigrants make crime worse, studies have shown that’s not true, according to the New York Times. While immigrant communities in the country have quickly grown over the decades, crime has declined overall. The national violent crime rate has dropped considerably since 1980.

Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, leads a team of researchers who compared immigration and crime rates in two hundred metropolitan areas over the last several decades. Areas studied are scattered across the country, including major cities like New York and smaller manufacturing centers like Muncie, Indiana.

They found that a large majority of the areas have many more immigrants now than in 1980, yet they have fewer violent crimes. Crime rates fell more than they increased as immigrant populations grew. Of 136 metro areas, or nearly 70% of the cities looked at, immigrant population went up from 1980 to 2016 while crime rates stayed about the same or fell. Crime and immigration both increased in 54 areas, or about a quarter of the total.

The ten areas with the highest increases in immigrant population had lower levels of crime in 2016 than in 1980.

In reality, there’s no link between the number of immigrants living in an area and increased crime; but that hasn’t stopped the Trump Administration from painting a bleak picture to justify more restrictions on immigrants and its efforts against sanctuary cities.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has sued the state of California because it restricts local police from assisting USCIS officers in their efforts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants charged with crimes. California’s Orange County joined the DOJ in the lawsuit despite the fact that the county’s immigrant population has more than doubled since 1980 but overall violent crime there has been cut by more than half.

In most of the areas studied, the immigrant population increased from 57% to 183%. Violent crime rates in most areas saw somewhere between a 43% drop and a 6% percent rise, often trending downward by the 2000s. The immigrant population grew by 137% between 1980 and 2016, while the crime rate fell 12% percent over the same period.

If you or a loved one lives in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, don’t let the current anti-immigrant hysteria stop you from learning about immigration opportunities that may be available. Carman & Fullerton can help you, whether you speak English, Spanish or another language. Your future and that of your family is at stake, so contact us today.

Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton

Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton

Mr. Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law. He speaks Spanish, and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He began his career practicing criminal defense, and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status. [Attorney Bio]