There is a widespread belief that immigrants are more dangerous than U.S. citizens. In light of recent political events, there is even more divide in this country when it comes to immigration and immigrant dangers. While immigrants have been arrested and charged with crimes, they have also been the victim of crimes in this country. So just how dangerous are immigrants when compared to U.S. born citizens?
Two independent studies released in March indicate immigrants commit crimes and are imprisoned for them at a rate far below that of natural-born citizens.
The criminal justice research and advocacy group, The Sentencing Project, conducted one study in which it determined residents of the U.S. who were born abroad commit fewer crimes than natural-born citizens of the United States.
Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, compared incarceration rates by ethnicity, gender, and migratory status. Their study determined that- per capita- immigrants are less likely to be jailed or imprisoned than other members of the population.
Numerous politicians continue to depict illegal immigrants as a threat to our economy and public safety. They frequently mention people whose family members have been killed by illegal immigrants, citing these incidents as part of the reason for a $3 billion Department of Homeland Security budget increase request.
The additional $3 billion would fund President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and proposed border wall. Agendas that will, according to President Trump, stop the flow of illegal immigrants and the crime they bring with them.
According to these recent studies, however, there is significant evidence pointing to a greater amount of crime spawning from individuals born in the United States.
In fact, the Cato study on comparative incarceration rates shows that among the 18 to 54-year-old age group, 1.53 percent of native-born citizens are imprisoned, as are 0.85 percent of illegal immigrants, and 0.47 percent of legal immigrants. That’s equivalent to approximately 2 million native-born U.S. citizens, 123,000 illegal immigrants, and 64,000 legal immigrants locked up in the United States prison system.
The study conducted by The Sentencing Project suggests that part of the reason for the unprecedented drop in crime since 1990 may have to do with increased immigration.
Although the researchers concede that causation cannot be definitively proven, their study did link crime trends to immigration trends. In 1990, there were 730 violent crimes for every 100,000 citizens, compared to 362 violent crimes per 100,000 citizens in 2014. Immigration trends followed a similar pattern for that time period. The study states that 3.5 million illegal immigrants were present in the country in 1990 and 11.1 million in 2014.
While it is certainly true that some immigrants may be capable of horrible crimes, many pro-immigrant groups argue it is playing on the fears of U.S. citizens to say that immigrants in general are the primary source of violent crime in the country.
They also say that villainizing all immigrants will eventually backfire on anti-immigrant politicians and ultimately cost tax payers in terms of money and personal safety when so much money is being spent targeting the wrong group of people.
While the U.S. crime rate did increase slightly in 2015, it remains at historic 20 year lows. The estimated number of violent crimes rose by 3.9% in 2015 but the number of property crimes fell by 2.6%. Overall, however, violent crime is 0.7% lower than it was 5 years ago and 16.5% lower than it was a decade ago. These statistics alone refute the claim by many politicians that crime is “out of control” and that law and order needs to be tightened up.
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If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with a crime in Boulder, Denver, or anywhere in the State of Colorado, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Boulder criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.