No Difference in Recidivism Among Legal vs. Illegal Immigrants
I often hear the tired, old mantra, "Illegal immigrants are the source of all crime in our most blessed country, "X". However, according to a recent studied published in the peer reviewed journal Criminology and Public Policy, the incidence of recidivism (reoffending) of exconvicts who are illegal immigrants (i.e. are deportable) was no higher than that of legal immigrants.
Researchers studied nearly 1,300 male immigrants released from jail over a 30-day period and followed them for a year to see whether there were differences in recidivism between the deportable and nondeportable immigrants.
Immigrants who were deportable — deemed so because they entered the United States illegally, overstayed their visas or committed other violations — were no more likely to be rearrested during the study period when compared to similar legal or naturalized immigrants.
“Our findings run counter to the notion that illegal immigrants are more likely than other immigrants to cycle in and out of the local criminal justice system,” said Laura Hickman, assistant professor with the Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute at Portland State University and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
Hickman and co-author Marika Suttorp of RAND found that a higher percentage of deportable immigrants were rearrested at least once during the following year — 43 percent compared to 35 percent. But when researchers compared deportable immigrants to similar nondeportable immigrants — considering factors such as age, ethnicity, country of birth, and type of criminal arrest — the differences disappeared.
The results of this study are significant because the researchers were able to show that the difference in the simple percentages of rearrest between the groups (43 versus 35) was due to the influence of the other factors like age, ethnicity, and criminal history related to recidivism. When these factors were accounted for in the analysis, immigration status had no influence on rearrest.
Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain a copy of the article, and cannot verify the press release's claims.