Based on your review of Module 12 materials, please respond to the following discussion prompts. To

  

Based on your review of Module 12 materials, please respond to the following discussion prompts. To be considered for full credit on this assignment you must respond to all parts of the provided prompts. Relating your response to the module content is strongly encouraged. Please keep in mind that this is a Discussion Post and your classmates will be able to read your response. Accordingly, make sure you continue to uphold our class guidelines for constructive, professional, and respectful discourse. Keep up the great work! 

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Discussion Prompts

1)  What is your reaction to the data presented in this chapter about the relationship between immigration and crime? Are these data surprising? Not surprising? Do you think these data are reflected in most people’s views of immigration issues? Why or why not?

2)  How do you feel about the involvement of local and state law enforcement in the enforcement of federal immigration law? Do the potential benefits outweigh the costs or the costs outweigh the benefits? Why?

  • There are several resources in the “Optional Content: Links and Further Readings” section of the module that may help inform your argument for prompt 2. All the links and articles from the “ICE Overview of the 287(g) program” down to the bottom of the list are related to this issue. The Police Foundation (2009)provides a direct discussion of pros and cons (although it is a bit dated). 

IMMIGRATION, CRIME, & JUSTICE
Historical and Contemporary Context

Varying Perspectives

Empirical Evidence

Policy Implications

OVERVIEW

• Historical and contemporary context

• Changing U.S. demographics

• Influence of economic factors

• Varying perspectives regarding the immigration-crime relationship

• Immigration increases crime versus immigration decreases crime

• Empirical research

• Micro-level studies; Macro-level studies

• Policy implications in CJS

• Pros and cons of local enforcement of federal immigration policies

• Considering the impact of media portrayals of immigrants

HISTORICAL & CONTEMPORARY CONTEXT

• Criminalization of immigrants common throughout U.S. history

• Immigrants targeted for social control most when:

• Immigration is high in volume; economic conditions are poor/more competitive

• United States is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse (see 2020 Census)

• Driven to a large extent by immigration; particularly from Latin America and Asia

• 2018 = roughly 44.8 million immigrants in the U.S. (13.7% of total population)

• Over half of foreign born in U.S. were Latinx; 25% from Mexico

• Nearly half of all Latinx immigrants live in 10 metropolitan areas; populations have increased throughout the country

• Among new arrivals, Asians outnumber Hispanics

• 23% of foreign-born are unauthorized (roughly 10.5 million in 2017)

• Renewed focus on link between immigration and crime

• Economic recession; political rhetoric; increased law enforcement involvement; etc.

• Empirical evidence does not match the rhetoric – “the immigrant paradox”

Chouhy & Madero-Hernandez, 2019; Pew, 2020

SOME CHARTS

Pew, 2020

IMMIGRATION
AND CRIME

• THEORIES ON THE

IMMIGRANT-

CRIME NEXUS

• EMPIRICAL DATA

POSITIVE IMMIGRATION-CRIME RELATIONSHIP
• Demographic transition and population instability

• Compositional argument

• Immigration increases the proportion of the population with a “crime-prone” demographic profile (i.e., young,

unmarried, males)

• Contextual argument

• Immigration creates population turnover and instability which lead to more crime

• Labor market structure and economic deprivation

• Immigration increases the population with low education, marginal labor market skills, and poor

employment prospects

• New immigrants likely to settle in economically disadvantaged areas with limited upward mobility

• Illegal drug market participation

• Stereotype of immigrant drug traffickers (not supported by empirical evidence)

• Structural disadvantage, exposure to illicit drug economy, and demographics create opportunity

Ousey & Kubrin, 2009

“Positive” relationship = more

immigration, more crime

NEGATIVE IMMIGRATION-CRIME RELATIONSHIP

• Immigration selection effects

• Immigrants are not a random cross-section of the sending population

• Tend to have relatively high levels of achievement ambition and low criminal propensity

• Some immigrant groups arrive with higher education than average native-born Americans

• Formal social control

• Because of stereotypes and public concerns, jurisdictions that experience increases in immigration may

increase expenditures for police/formal social control

• Increased formal social control may reduce crime overall

• Social capital and family structure

• Immigration may increase neighborhood social capital and informal social control

• Ethnic enclaves

• Immigrant revitalization thesis

• Immigration alters aggregate family and household structures in ways that foster informal social control and

impede crime

Ousey & Kubrin, 2009

“Negative” relationship = more

immigration, less crime

EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE – MICRO-LEVEL RESEARCH

• A substantial body of research compares the criminal propensity of immigrants to native

born populations

• Despite relatively high levels of disadvantage, immigrants as a whole exhibit lower levels of crime,

arrest, and violence

• Risk of offending is higher among children of immigrants

• Third generation immigrants more than twice as likely as first generation to perpetrate violence
(Sampson et al., 2005)

• Second (60% more likely) and third (88% more likely) generation immigrant youth more likely to

engage in violent delinquency than first generation immigrants (Bui & Thongniramol, 2005)

• Explanations?

• Later generations more affected by experiences of discrimination and marginalization

• Assimilation erodes the cultural influences that serve as protective factors

• Neighborhood context matters – the “segmented assimilation thesis”

Chouhy & Madero-Hernandez, 2019; Sampson et al., 2005

GENERATIONAL
PATTERNS OF
OFFENDING

• Data depicted here demonstrate

trajectories of delinquency

• Foreign-born individuals

demonstrate less involvement in

offending over the life course

• Second generation immigrants

appear to have “caught up” to

native-born youth

Adapted from The Sentencing Project, 2017

EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE – MACRO-LEVEL RESEARCH

• Criminological theories assume high rates of immigration may increase crime rates

• Contemporary empirical evidence does not support this idea

• Cities with largest increases in immigration have experienced significant decreases in violent

crime (Wadsworth, 2010)

• Percentage of recent immigrants negatively correlated with homicide rates (Martinez et al., 2008)

• Immigration increases at the census tract (neighborhood proxy) level also associated with

reduction of violent crime (Ousey & Kubrin, 2009)

• Recent meta-analysis synthesizing data from 51 existing studies found a significant (but small)

negative effect of immigration on crime rates (Ousey & Kubrin, 2018)

• Conclusion: rate of immigration has essentially no impact on rates of crime across macro-social units

• Immigrant revitalization thesis

• Influx of immigrants into disadvantage neighborhoods reduces overall rates of violent crime

Chouhy & Madero-Hernandez, 2019; Ousey & Kubrin, 2018

IMMIGRATION
AND VIOLENT
CRIME

• Chart depicts rates of violent

crime and immigration in the U.S.

• While immigration, both

authorized and unauthorized,

increased throughout the

observation period, rates of

violent crime decreased

Adapted from The Sentencing Project, 2017

CONTEMPORARY
IMMIGRATION

ISSUES

• IMMIGRATION

AND POLICING

• SANCTUARY

POLICIES

• MEDIA

PORTRAYALS OF

IMMIGRANTS

IMMIGRATION AND POLICING

• Complicated history between immigrants and the police – renewed controversy

• Changes since 9/11 – homeland security concerns impact immigrant communities

• Immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government

• U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE);

and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

• Being in the country without authorization is not a criminal offense

• Increasing role of state and local law enforcement

• The 287(g) program creates collaborations between state and local LE and the federal

government to enforce federal immigration laws

• Opponents argue that program erodes police-community relations in immigrant communities

• Arizona SB 1070 and other similar legislation

• Contributes to racial profiling of Latinos; allowed to indefinitely hold suspects if believe

undocumented

Decker et al., 2009; Wong et al., 2020

IMMIGRATION AND POLICING (CONT’D)

• Involvement of local law enforcement in federal immigration enforcement is controversial

• Central issue in debates about “sanctuary cities”

• Argument for – doing the work of federal immigration enforcement is necessary to ensuring public safety –

doing so will reduce crime

• Pros: reducing local jail pops; deterrent effects; counterterrorism tool; provides access to data/resources

• Support for this position related to economic anxiety; anxiety about demographic changes; partisan political ideology

• Argument against – partnerships blur lines b/w police and immigration officials leading to fear and distrust of

local law enforcement; less willingness to report victimization or cooperate with police investigations –

partnerships related to increased crime rates

• Cons: reduced trust and cooperation; increased victimization; police misconduct; expensive; civil liberty concerns; spillover effect

to other municipal agencies/services

• Existing empirical research finds little support for link between sanctuary cities and crime; support for negative

impact of partnerships on trust and willingness to report/cooperate with police investigations

• A “spillover effect” where legal Latinx immigrants and even U.S.-born Latinx attitudes may be impacted

Khasha, 2009; Menjivar et al., 2018; Wong et al., 2020

POLICING
IMMIGRATION
STATUS

• Chart depicts percentage of

responding police agencies that

typically check immigration status

in various contexts

• Data indicate higher prevalence

when individuals arrested or

detained

Adapted from Khashu, 2009

MEDIA PORTRAYALS

• One factor that may contribute to the perception of immigrants as “crime-prone” or

contributing to crime rates is media portrayals

• How news agencies narratively describe or “frame” stories involving immigration and crime contributes to

misperceptions about immigrant criminality

• Harris and colleagues have conducted several studies of this issue

• One-third of local news stories describe immigration as crime-increasing; articles that link immigration to

crime feature more prominently (Tuttle & Harris, 2019)

• Most immigration-crime news stories describe immigrants as especially crime-prone or as increasing

aggregate crime rates; this framing has increased over time (Harris & Gruenewald, 2020)

• Coverage of immigration and crime varies based on community violent crime rates; minority population

size and growth; and religious and political conservatism (Harris et al., 2020)

• Community affluence and minority population growth related to framing linking immigration to crime rates

• Does what media you consume impact your views on immigration?

Harris et al., 2020; Harris & Gruenewald, 2020; Tuttle & Harris, 2019

POLICY IMPLICATIONS

• Little empirical evidence that immigrants are more “crime-prone” than native

citizens or that rates of immigration increase crime rates

• High rate of immigration can serve as a protective factor against crime

• Blocking immigration opportunities = increased crime?

• The increasingly punitive approach to immigration is unlikely to produce the

desired results

• Decreased legitimacy and erosion of informal social control

• Second and third generation children of immigrants at increased risk for

criminality

• Policies that promote educational and economic opportunities for children of immigrants

may be more effective

SUMMARY

• The relationship between immigration, crime, and criminal justice is controversial

• Especially in the context of continual debate about immigration reform and political rhetoric

• Theories posit both positive and negative relationships between immigration and crime

• Empirical research reveals an “immigrant paradox”

• Despite experiencing potentially criminogenic conditions (e.g., poverty, residential mobility),

immigrants are no more “crime-prone” than native born populations

• Involvement in crime increases in second and third generations

• Macro-level research reveals a slight protective effect of immigration on crime rates

• Ongoing debate surrounding local enforcement of federal immigration policies

• This is especially relevant for local law enforcement and police-community relations

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