Refugee “baggage” does not include inclination to crime

Sora Heo
Date of Publication: 
September, 2022
Source Organization: 

In January 2017, President Trump signed Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States, an executive order dramatically reducing refugee resettlement. Referred to as the “travel ban” or “Muslim ban” by critics, the sudden policy change reversed decades of U.S. immigration policy. In part due to unfounded fears that refugees increase crime rates and pose a national security threat, the policy resulted in the lowest number of resettled refugees in a decade and a 65.6 percent decrease in resettlement from 2016 to 2017.

The Trump Administration’s rhetoric conflated immigration and crime and sparked a national shift away from supporting immigration. In a poll released this month, more than half of Americans claimed that there is an ongoing “invasion” at the Southern border, in tune with the national shift away from pro-immigration.

The presumption was that when a large number of refugees arrive in a region, crime rises in subsequent years, and placing limits on immigration would drastically decrease crime rates. In actuality, there was a null effect on crime rates in response to changes in refugee resettlement rates brought by the 2017 ban.

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Heo, S. (2022, September). Refugee “baggage” does not include inclination to crime. Niskanen Center.