Friday, July 16, 2010

Article Debunks Connection Between Immigration and Crime

A recent article written by Florida International University Professor Ramiro Martinez, Jr. and published in The Criminologist entitled Crime and Immigration further debunks the idea that immigration legislation like that in Arizona will reduce crime.

Professor Martinez writes:

A prominent claim by politicians and anti-immigrant supporters is that SB 1070 is needed to fight immigrant crime given rising levels of violence. There is little if any systematic evidence to support this claim. Violent crime reported to the police and measured in victimization surveys has plummeted across the country since at least 1995 and that decrease is evident in places with large Latino and immigrant populations including the city of Phoenix Arizona (Phoenix Police Department, 2010; for more see Sampson 2008). In a forthcoming Criminology & Public Policy article, Lauritsen and Heimer (2010) report that serious violence victimization rates among White, Black and Latino males are several times lower now than when the National Crime Victimization Survey began in 1973 – trends made all the more remarkable when considered in the context of the dramatic rise in immigration over the past four decades.

The article also examines the premise that the communities on the border of Mexico are more violent than other non-border communities. Actually the opposite is true. Professor Martinez writes:

Some immigration opponents imply that the southwestern border is a dangerous place due to its location and proximity to Mexico. Again, empirical evidence raises doubt that the border is a hyper violent place (Martinez 2010). Consider the state of Texas
which shares the longest stretch of the U.S. border with Mexico. A recent examination of county-level homicide data demonstrates Texas border counties have significantly lower homicide rates than non-border counties and Texas counties with higher levels of immigration concentration had lower levels of homicide. Not only are Latino homicide rates lower in these areas, so are those of non-Latino Whites and Blacks. No compelling support was found for the claim that border areas are more violent due to proximity or immigration (Martinez 2010).

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