September 30, 2016


Donald Trump Is Wrong--Immigrants Don't Commit More Crimes (David Bier, September 27, 2016, Time)

What the anti-immigration crowd needs to understand is that not only are immigrants less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, but they also protect us from crime in several ways.
To begin with, immigrants prevent crime indirectly by simply committing far fewer crimes per person than native-born Americans.

Here's how it works: imagine 1 out of every 20 people is a criminal. If you are a criminal, you have a 5% chance of bumping into another criminal who tells you about an opportunity to commit a crime or helps you carry it out. When an influx of low-crime immigrants enters the country, they reduce the chances of you making that connection, thus reducing overall crime.

This is one reason why homicides and robberies in the most immigrant-dense cities fell further than elsewhere in the country following a surge in immigration in recent years. It is no surprise that America's crime rates plunged as immigration surged in the 1990s.

Immigrants also reduce crime rates by infusing new capital into rundown areas. Studies have shown that filling abandoned buildings and fixing up neighborhoods makes residents less likely to commit crimes, and new residents also fill public coffers, which can be invested in better law enforcement.

Buffalo is a good example. Denise Beehag of the International Institute of Buffalo told NPR last year that immigrants "were pretty much the only group that was moving into the West side of Buffalo and taking over those vacant houses and businesses." Crime fell most dramatically in Buffalo in Bangladeshi immigrant areas--by 70%.

Immigrants also reduce crime in more direct ways. For starters, about 25,000 police officers, detectives and other law enforcement personnel were born in another country, according to the Census Bureau in 2014.USA Today reported last year that more law enforcement agencies across the country are recruiting immigrants to fill vacancies in tough areas and connect with the diverse population.

Immigrant police officers expand the size of the law enforcement labor force, which lowers crime in two ways. First, the sheer number of cops has been shown to have a depressing effect on crime. And second, allowing agencies the ability to hire the best recruit possible increases the quality of their workforce, which further depresses crime.

Of course, immigrants who aren't cops also stop crimes and save lives. There are another nearly 6,000 immigrants working as firefighters, roughly 14,000 as correctional or probation officers, almost 70,000 working in private security, and nearly 700,000 in medical and health services, including nearly half of all diagnosticians and treating practitioners.

Posted by at September 30, 2016 6:05 PM