A look at whether immigrants really cause increased crime

| Mar 9, 2017 | US Immigration Law |

As the government is shifting focus and bringing much attention to immigrants living in California and other parts of the United States, some of the rhetoric has centered around how crime rates are impacted by the presence of immigrants. Despite some media outlets reporting otherwise, research has shown that immigrants do not in fact cause crime to increase in areas where they reside.

According to Governing.com, negative views of immigrants as criminals are common. One survey found that 50 percent of adults believe that crime is made worse by immigrants. However, studies indicate that crime rates in areas with immigrants may actually be lower. This was also the true even when only immigrants without the proper documentation were considered.

One possible reason for the drop in crime in areas with residents that originate from other countries is that many such people fear contact with the police and are careful not to draw attention to themselves by breaking the law. That fear of attracting attention may also lead immigrants to underreport crime and to be reluctant to help police with investigations.

As a result, many municipalities across the country have declared themselves sanctuary cities, meaning that they will not expend police resources to enforce federal immigration laws. The Los Angeles Times reports that many in law enforcement are afraid that increased enforcement efforts will cause immigrants to not cooperate with authorities, leading to an uptick in crime. There is a common misbelief that sanctuary cities allow crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to go unchecked. However, that simply is not true.