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Researchers: Immigrants Don't Increase Crime

Researchers say despite fears across the country that immigrants increase crime, just the opposite is true. (md.gov)
Researchers say despite fears across the country that immigrants increase crime, just the opposite is true. (md.gov)
February 27, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- As President Donald Trump continues to act on campaign promises to deport undocumented immigrants, a new study shows that U.S. cities with large immigrant populations experience lower rates of crime.

Four decades of evidence show no link between immigration and increased crime, according to Robert Adelman, associate professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the study's lead author.

"For crimes like murder, robbery, burglary and larceny - as immigration increases, crime decreases on average in American metropolitan areas,” Adelman said. "We found no effect of immigration on aggravated assault."

Researchers studied census and FBI crime data in 200 metropolitan areas from 1970 to 2010.

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed immigrants increase crime. He has signed executive orders restricting entry into the U.S., prioritizing deportation, authorizing construction of a wall on the Mexico border, and withholding federal funds from "sanctuary cities."

Adelman said facts are critical in the current political environment, and pointed to research showing that foreign-born individuals are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. In his view, the benefits brought by immigrant populations to U.S. cities outweigh any perceived risks.

"When we think about the benefits of immigration, you can think of economic revitalization, population growth, contributing to lower rates of vacant and abandoned buildings, cultural enrichment and - with our findings, in many cases - lower levels of crime,” he said.

Adelman said he hopes the research will help policymakers make decisions based on scientific evidence, not ideologies and claims that demonize particular segments of the U.S. population without facts to back them up.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD