July 11, 2007


Why are Immigrants' Incarceration Rates so Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation (Kristin F. Butcher, Anne Morrison Piehl, July 2007, NBER Working Paper No. 13229)

The perception that immigration adversely affects crime rates led to legislation in the 1990s that particularly increased punishment of criminal aliens. In fact, immigrants have much lower institutionalization (incarceration) rates than the native born - on the order of one-fifth the rate of natives. More recently arrived immigrants have the lowest relative incarceration rates, and this difference increased from 1980 to 2000. We examine whether the improvement in immigrants' relative incarceration rates over the last three decades is linked to increased deportation, immigrant self-selection, or deterrence. Our evidence suggests that deportation does not drive the results. Rather, the process of migration selects individuals who either have lower criminal propensities or are more responsive to deterrent effects than the average native. Immigrants who were already in the country reduced their relative institutionalization probability over the decades; and the newly arrived immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s seem to be particularly unlikely to be involved in criminal activity, consistent with increasingly positive selection along this dimension.

Those coming here are already American. Those trying to stop them aren't.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 11, 2007 6:44 PM

While I'm generally with you on the subject of immigration, the "less crime" conclusion holds true only for first generations. The wheels come off (many of the) carts with second generations. Especially ... ironically... when assimilation is de rigueur. The stress of conflicting cultural norms ... old country vs. new country ... can be destructive. Third generations et seq. tend to recover.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 11, 2007 7:47 PM

Yes, as they assimilate to the inferior culture.

Posted by: oj at July 11, 2007 8:27 PM

In a sense. But I wouldn't want the assimilation to go the other direction. Keep California American, er ...

Having put it that way, I see your point more clearly.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 11, 2007 9:03 PM

Interesting, inferior culture - what's the income breakpoint?????

Posted by: Sandy P at July 11, 2007 10:07 PM

The breakpoint is the notion that higher income makes you superior.

Posted by: oj at July 11, 2007 10:57 PM

Ghostcat and OJs first 2 comments illustrate the point that I have been harping on all along.

Though strongly supportive of assimilating as many Americans as this nation can handle, we need to ask just who and what is assimilating who.

America's public schools are (philosophically and culturally) an ideologically French/secular humanist/Tranzi machine designed speicifically to 'disassimilate' as many "Americans" as possible.

Jose comes here to work (good), Jose's Wife and kids become ward of our welfare state (neutral, as the work balances with the welfare state cost) while Jose's kids are imbued with the "slacker nation" values promoted by our awful public education system.

On balance, it is unsustainable.

If push comes to shove, I'd gladly jettison the welfare state for hard working immigrants. But Saul Alinski's and Gramsci's schools shift the outcome of that bargain.

It all comes down to the Education Monopoly. Change the way the west educates, and we will survive any storm. Fail to change it, and the many headed Hydra will eventually win.

Posted by: Bruno at July 11, 2007 11:27 PM

People vote for "the superior culture" by wanting to live in it. Mexico has had 1,300 drug murders so far this year, and is notoriously riddled with corruption. No wonder people want to leave.

Imagine how low we could get the immigrant incarceration rate if we actually got to choose which immigrants to let in . . . what a thought . . . maybe San Francisco wouldn't have rival Mexican street gangs that regularly kill people. But it's a statistically lower rate of murder when compared with our native gangsters, and it only increases the total murders by a small amount, so I guess I'm not supposed to complain about the broken eggs that come with OJ's social engineering omelette.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 12, 2007 12:22 AM

If we apply the reasoning of "The liberal schools will corrupt them" consistently, we would try to restrict births as well as immigration.

On the other hand, it might make sense to combine open borders with school vouchers.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at July 12, 2007 12:31 AM

It seems we are "creeping toward wisdom", as oj might put it. We are collectively developing the idea that education should be a function of civil society and not of the state.

For one thing, the state may become the tool of militant minorities, who are themselves folk-enemies. Additionally, the state operatives have a conflict of interest in that they are concerned with their own careers and power.

Now consider that it is the "breeders" who have the children, and the folk-enemies and contrarian organs who are attempting to indoctrinate them and admit that we must crush the infamous thing which public education has become.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 12, 2007 4:18 AM

No, that's false. Education's sole purpose is to train men to be good citizens, so it is uniquely an obligation of the state to provide such an education and it must be universal in a republic. Private and parochial schools may be used to help provide that education.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2007 6:19 AM

Yes, it's always been the ones who leave and come here who are the bearers of the superior culture.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2007 6:22 AM

... the "superior" culture is subsumed into the larger American culture. We keep the parts of the immigrant culture we like, pizza, tacos, adobe houses, etc. and discard the parts we don't like, plastic flowers for outdoor landscaping, several families sharing a small housing unit...

Posted by: erp at July 12, 2007 7:44 AM

It is a practical necessity for the state to insure the means to a functional education--the ability to read street signs and army manuals--that sort of thing. This duty is fulfilled by financial support and assessment of performance.

But when the Lo Stato itself operates the schools, those schools are susceptible to being seized by the enemies of civil society such as witches and homosexuals. This is because the highly motivated enmies of permanent things can exert political influence all out of proportion to their numbers.

Thus we see public schools teaching, not good citizenship, but the opposite.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 12, 2007 5:03 PM

To the contrary, schools do indeed spend far too much time on trivia like the sciences, but they're exceedingly good at indoctrinating generations of citizens.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2007 8:10 PM