Criminal Aspects of Immigration

Criminal Aspects of Immigration in the United States

People in the United States have been concerned, in the history of the nation, with crime produced by immigrants. The concern is based on the deep belief, shared by many, that foreign-born people who threaten community cohesion by committing a disproportionately large number of violent and property crimes. According to Fox News (2015): “Statistics show the estimated 11.7 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. account for 13.6 percent of all offenders sentenced for crimes committed in the U.S. Twelve percent of murder sentences, 20 percent of kidnapping sentences and 16 percent of drug trafficking sentences are meted out to illegal immigrants.” [1]

Crime Statistics and Social Patterns

In relation to crime statistics, the United States has been adding about 1 million immigrants each year since 1990, and in 2013 there were over 13 million immigrants with permanent residency status. The most populous U.S. states are California (about 39 million), Texas (about 27 million), Florida (about 20 million), New York (about 20 million), and Illinois (about 13 million). These states also have the highest number of immigrants (Migration Policy Institute, 2013a). California, New York, Texas, and Florida account for 60% of the foreign-born population.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates the number of immigrants who either came into the United States illegally or overstayed their visas to be around 11 million people (Census Bureau, 2014). [2]

Since reaching an all-time high in both violent and property crime in the mid-1990s, the number and rate of violent and property crime in the United States have been steadily declining (Federal Bureau of Investigation) [3], while the incarceration rate, until very recently, had been increasing. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (2015), arrests decreased 20% between 2005 and 2015; between 2013 and 2014, violent crime arrests decreased 0.2%, and property crime arrests decreased 4.3%. In 2014, more offenders were arrested for drug crimes (1,561,231) than property crimes (1,553,980) and violent crimes (498,666) (Federal Bureau of Investigation). [4]

Between 2005 and 2010, the increase in incarceration within the United States was higher among U.S. citizens (16% increase) than among foreign-born persons (7% increase; Government Accounting Office) [5]. The Bureau of Justice Statistics [6] reported that, between 2000 and 2008, the population of foreign-born/non-U.S. citizens housed in all U.S. jails was between 6 and 9% of all detainees. The estimated number of persons held in U.S. jails decreased 1% in 2012, from a high in 2010 of 748,700, to 744,500 detainees; the estimated number of persons incarcerated in U.S. prisons decreased 2%, from 1,521,400 inmates in 2010 to 1,483,900 inmates in 2012 (Bureau of Justice Statistics) [7].

Social Disorganization, and Social Control

Sampson and Raudenbush [8] wrote that citizens views about their neighborhood were influenced by the community’s racial composition, and that the negative perceptions of neighborhoods are shaped by racial bias rather than by observations of disorder.

Violent Crime and Immigration

Are foreign-born persons the responsible for the communities’ drug and violent crime. Researchers say the contrary. Read more about violent crime and immigration in this american legal encyclopedia (and see also the entry about the hate crime here).

Illegal Immigration and Crime

In the United States immigration system, and in relation to crime associated with illegal immigration, note the definition of illegal immigration in the United States (when a person unlawfully enters the country or overstays their visa once in the United States) and the description of undocumented immigrants in the United States and other undocumented aliens in the country.

Undocumented Immigrant

When undocumented immigrants come to the attention of law enforcement agencies or officers, and if the immigrants do not voluntarily agree to deportation, their cases are examiend by the United States court system. See here about immigration court representation and here about deportation proceedings.

Crime Victimization and Immigration

See the follow link about reporting victimization of african american to the police in the United States; and crime victimization reporting patterns, see here.

Immigration, Interpersonal Violence, and Gender Victimization

The gender of immigrants have statistical impact in crime report to the police.

Workplace Victimization

Many undocumented immigrants experience working victimization.

Refugee Concern

Since 1975, over 3 million refugees have come to the United States from all over the world (U.S. State Department) [9], and the United States admitted 84,995 refugees in 2016 (U.S. Department of State). [10]

Resources

Notes

  1. Fox News. (September 16, 2015). Exclusive crime wave data shows frightening toll of illegal immigrant criminals. Retrieved from foxnews.com/us/2015/09/16/crime-wave-elusive-data-shows-frightening-toll-illegal-immigrant-criminals/.
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2015a). Table 32: Ten year arrest trends: Totals 2005–2014. Crime in the United States, 2014.
  3. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2015b). 2014 crime in the United States. Latest crime stats released: Decrease in 2014 violent crimes, property crimes. Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  4. U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). Quick facts: United States.
  5. Government Accounting Office. (March 2011). Figure 1: Number of criminal aliens and U.S. citizens incarcerated in federal prisons from fiscal years 2005 through 2010. Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests and Costs. 2005–2010. GAO-11-187. Report to Congress.
  6. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2009). Jail inmates at mid-year 2008. NCJ 225709. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice
  7. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (December 2013). Correctional populations in the United States, 2012. NCJ 243936. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice
  8. Sampson, R. W., & Raudenbush, S. W. (2004). Seeing disorder: Neighborhood stigma and the social construction of “broken windows.” Social Psychology Quarterly, 67(4), 319–342
  9. U.S. Department of State. (2015). Written testimony of Lawrence Bartlett, Director, Office of Refugee Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Department of State Refugee admissions fiscal year 2016. For a hearing on “Refugee admissions fiscal year 2016.” October 1, 2015, Washington, DC
  10. U.S. Department of State. (2017). U.S. Refugee Program

See also

Opposition to immigration
Race and crime
Youth bulge

Further Reading

  • Aguirre, A., Jr., & Simmers, J. (2008/2009). Mexican border crossers: The Mexican body in immigration discourse. Social Justice, 35, 99–106.
  • Anderson, R. (2016). Europe’s failed “fight” against irregular migration: Ethnographic notes on a counterproductive industry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
  • Bersani, B. E., Loughran, T. A., & Piquero, A. R. (2014). Comparing patterns and predictors of immigrant offending among a sample of adjudicated youth. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 43, 1914–1933.
  • Blondell, J. (2008). Adverse impacts of massive and illegal immigration in the United States. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 33, 328–350.
  • Border Network for Human Rights. (November 2008). U.S.-Mexico border policy report. El Paso, TX, and Tucson, AZ: Border Network for Human Rights and Border Action Network.
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2009). Jail inmates at mid-year 2008. NCJ 225709. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics. (December 2013). Correctional populations in the United States, 2012. NCJ 243936. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Chiricos, T., Stupi, E. K., Stults, B. J., & Gertz, M. (2014). Undocumented immigrant threat and support for social controls. Social Problems, 61(4), 673–692.
  • Desmond, C. E. (2009). The power of place: Immigrant communities and adolescent violence. The Sociological Quarterly, 50, 581–607.
  • Desmond, Scott A., & Kubrin, Charis E. (2009). The power of place: Immigrant communities and adolescent violence. The Sociological Quarterly, 50(4), 581–607.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2015c). Crime in the United States, 2014.
  • Ferraro, V. A. (2014). Immigrants and crime in the new destinations. LFB Scholarly Publications.
  • Ferraro, V. (2016). Immigration and crime in the new destinations, 2000–2007: A test of the disorganizing effect of migration. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 32, 23–45.
  • Frohlich, T. C., Stebbins, S., & Sauter, M. B. (July 15, 2015). America’s most violent (and most peaceful) states.
  • Fussell, E. (2011). The deportation threat dynamic and victimization of Latino migrants: Wage theft and robbery. The Sociological Quarterly, 52, 593–615.
  • Gleeson, S. (2010). Labor rights for all? The role of undocumented immigrant status for worker claims making. Law & Social Inquiry, 35, 561–602.
  • Government Accounting Office. (March 2011). Figure 1: Number of criminal aliens and U.S. citizens incarcerated in federal prisons from fiscal years 2005 through 2010. Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests and Costs. 2005–2010. GAO-11-187. Report to Congress.
  • Grieco, E. G., Acosta, Y. D., de la Cruz, P. G., Gambino, C., Gryn, T., Larsen, L. J., et al. (May 2012). The foreign-born population in the United States: 2010. Report number ACS-19. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Grimes, M., Golob, E., Durcikova, A., & Nunamaker, J. (May 2013). Reasons and resolve to cross the line: A post-apprehension survey of unauthorized immigrants along the U.S.–Mexico border. National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS). Tucson: University of Arizona.
  • Gutierrez, C. M., & Kirk, D. S. (2015). Silence speaks: The relationship between immigration and the underreporting of crime. Crime & Delinquency.
  • Hickman, L. J., & Suttorp, M. J. (2015). Are deportable aliens a unique threat to pubic safety? Comparing the recidivism of deportable and nondeportable aliens. Criminology & Public Policy, 7(1), 59–82.
  • Katz, C. M., Fox, A. M., & White, M. D. (2011). Assessing the relationship between immigration status and drug use. Justice Quarterly, 28, 541–575.
  • Koper, C. S., Guterbock, T. M., Woods, D. J., Taylor, B., & Carter, T. J. (2013). The effects of local immigration enforcement on crime and disorder: A case study of Prince William County, Virginia. Criminology & Public Policy, 12, 239–276.
  • Martinez, R., Jr., Lee, M. T., & Nielson, A. L. (2004). Segmented assimilation, local context and determinants of drug violence in Miami and San Diego: Does ethnicity and immigration matter? International Migration Review, 38, 131–157.
  • Martinez, R., Jr., Stowell, J. I., & Lee, M. T. (2010). Immigration and crime in an era of transformation: A longitudinal analysis of homicides in San Diego neighborhoods, 1980–2000. Criminology, 48(3), 797–829.
  • Mauer, M., & King, R. S. (2007). Uneven justice: State rates of incarcertion by race and ethnicity. Washington, DC: Sentencing Project.
  • Mears, D. P. (2001). The immigration–crime nexus: Toward an analytic framework for assessing and guiding theory, research and policy. Sociological Perspectives, 44, 1–19.
  • Messing, J. T., Becerra, D., Ward-Lasher, A., & Androff, D. K. (2015). Latinas’ perceptions of law enforcement: Fear of deportation, crime reporting, and trust in the system. Affilix Journal of Women and Social Work, 30, 328–340.
  • Metcalf, M. H. (2011). Built to fail: Deception and disorder in America’s immigration courts. Washington, DC: Center for Immigration Studies.
  • Migration Policy Institute. (2013a). U.S. immigrant population by state and county.
  • Migration Policy Institute. (2013b). Key immigration laws and policy developments since 1986. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.
  • Ousey, G. C., & Kubrin, C. E. (2014). Immigration and the changing nature of homicide in US cities, 1980–2010. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 30, 453–483.
  • Pitts, K. M. (2014). Latina immigrants, interpersonal violence, and the decision to report to police. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29, 1661–1678.
  • Reina, A. S., Lohman, B. J., & Maldonado, M. M. (2014). “He said they’d deport me”: Factors influencing domestic violence help-seeking practices among Latina immigrants. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29, 593–615.
  • Salas-Wright, C. P., Vaughn, M. G., Schwartz, S. J., & Córdova, D. (2015). An “immigrant paradox” for adolescent externalizing behavior? Evidence from a national sample. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Published online September 2015.
  • Sampson, R. J. (2008). Rethinking crime and immigration. Contexts, 7(1), 28–33.
  • Sampson, R. J., Morenoff, J. D., & Raudenbush, S. (2005). Social anatomy of racial and ethnic disparities in violence. American Journal of Public Health, 95(2), 224–232.
  • Sampson, R. W., & Raudenbush, S. W. (2004). Seeing disorder: Neighborhood stigma and the social contruction of “broken windows.” Social Psychology Quarterly, 67(4), 319–342.
  • Shaw, C. R., & McKay, H. D. (1942). Juvenile delinquency in urban areas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Sherman, A. (July 28, 2015). Donald Trump wrongly says the number of illegal immigrants is 30 million or higher. Politifact.
  • Sohoni, D., & Sohoni, T. W. P. (2014). Perceptions of immigrant criminality: Crime and social boundaries. Sociological Quarterly, 55, 49–71.
  • Stansfield, R., Akins, S., Rumbaut, R. G., & Hammer, R. B. (2013). Assessing the effects of recent immigration on serious property crime in Austin, Texas. Sociological Perspectives, 56(4), 647–672.
  • Stargardter, G., & Gardner, S. (October 12, 2014). Migrants snared in multi-million dollar kidnap racket on U.S.-Mexico border. Baltimore Sun.
  • Stowell, J. I., Messner, S. F., McGeever, K. F., & Raffalovich, L. E. (2009). Immigration and the recent violent crime drop in the United States: A pooled, cross-sectional time-series analysis of metropolitan areas. Criminology, 47, 889–928.
  • Stupi, E. K., Chiricos, T., & Gerz, M. (2016). Perceived criminal threat from undocumented immigrants: Antecedents and consequences for policy preferences. Justice Quarterly, 33, 239–266.
  • U.S. Department of State. (2015). Written testimony of Lawrence Bartlett, Director, Office of Refugee Admissions, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Department of State Refugee admissions fiscal year 2016. For a hearing on “Refugee admissions fiscal year 2016.” October 1, 2015, Washington, DC.
  • U.S. Department of State. (2017). U.S. Refugee Program.
  • Vélez, M. B. (2009). Contextualizing the immigration and crime effect: An analysis of homicide in Chicago neighborhoods. Homicide Studies, 13, 325–335.
  • Vélez, M. B., & Lyons, C. J. (2012). Situating the immigration and neighborhood crime relationship in multiple cities. In R. Martinez, M. S. Zatz, & C. E. Kubrin (Eds.), Punishing immigrants: Policy, politics, and injustice (pp. 159–177). New York: New York University Press.
  • Wagner, P. & Walsh, A. (2016). States of incarceration: The global context. Prison Policy.
  • Wang, X. (2012). Undocumented immigrants as perceived criminal threat: A test of the minority threat perspective. Criminology, 50(3), 743–776.
  • Wright, Emily M., & Benson, Michael L. (2010). Immigration and intimate partner violence: Exploring the immigrant paradox. Social Problems, 57(3), 480–503.
  • Zingher, J.N. (2014). The ideological and electoral determinants of laws targeting undocumented migrants in the U.S. states. State Politics & Policy Quarterly, 14, 90–117.
  • Zong, J., & Batalova, J. (December 1, 2015). European immigrants in the United States. Migration Policy Institute.

Criminal Aspects of Immigration: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Criminal Aspects of Immigration. This part provides references, in relation to Criminal Aspects of Immigration, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Criminal Aspects of Immigration by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Criminal Aspects of Immigration and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Criminal Aspects of Immigration or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Criminal Aspects of Immigration and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Criminal Aspects of Immigration. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Criminal Aspects of Immigration should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Criminal Aspects of Immigration when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

1 thought on “Criminal Aspects of Immigration”

  1. Militarization of the border between the United States and Mexico has been a principal method used by the United States government (including in the Obama and Trump administration) to deal with the conflict and instability in Mexico and Latin America that drives millions of poor (or insecure, such as the case of Venezuelans) people to attempt to cross the border with the U.S. each year.

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