Immigration Doesn't Lead to Higher Crime

The Immigration Policy Center has put out a new release that may be useful to you in some of your organizing efforts, particularly around local enforcement of federal immigration law:

Immigration Does Not Lead to Higher Crime Rates

More than 130 of the nation's top experts on immigration and crime have written to President Bush, Members of Congress, and the nation's governors to remind them that immigrants do not increase the crime rate. Immigrants, according to these experts, often are made scapegoats for social problems that afflict the nation. "As a result," says the letter to federal and state immigration policy makers, "myths and stereotypes rather than established fact far too often serve as the basis for misguided immigration policies." (The full text of the letter is available at

These are not new findings, according to the nation's leading sociologists, criminologists, and legal scholars who signed the letter. For more than 100 years, numerous studies have reached the same conclusion as these experts: "immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be behind bars than are the native-born."

Two of the more recent studies on immigration and crime are the work of the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) in Washington, D.C., and sociologists from the University of Michigan and Harvard University, including Robert J. Sampson, who now chairs Harvard's Sociology Department.

Ruben Rumbaut (University of California, Irvine) and Walter Ewing (IPC) authored the IPC study earlier this year (The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation). It is available at According to the study, violent crime in the U.S. has dropped to historic lows even as immigration has grown to historic highs.

Sampson has written that the evidence in his study "points to increased immigration as a major factor associated with the lower crime rate of the 1990’s." The Sampson study, Social Anatomy of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Violence, was co-authored with sociologists Jeffrey D. Morenoff and Stephen Raudenbush who, at the time, were with the University of Michigan. According to Sampson, their study found that immigrants "were 45% less likely to commit violence than were third-generation Americans." (This study is available at

For more information, contact Tim Vettel at the American Immigration Law Foundation: or 202-742-5608.

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. The IPC is a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.