Immigration and Crime and the Criminalization of Immigration

Rubén G. Rumbaut, Katie Dingeman, Anthony Robles
Date of Publication: 
June, 2018
Source Organization: 

A chapter in the forthcoming International Handbook of Migration Studies, Immigration and Crime and the Criminalization of Immigration provides a sweeping review of research on crime trends among the foreign-born in the U.S. dating back to the early 20th century. Without exception, this research shows an inverse relationship between criminal activity and the size of immigrant populations. For example, the incarceration rate of U.S.-born persons, as revealed in the 2000 census, was five times higher than that of young immigrant men. The authors explain that despite this data, the conflation of immigrants and criminal behavior continues to be a common misconception. The stereotype of immigrants-as-criminal has been reinforced by powerful institutions, such as the media, military, political campaigns and private prison companies, which have profited from the subsequent “moral panic” and policy-driven actions of searching for, detaining and deporting large swaths of the noncitizen population. While the immigrant rights movement has pushed back at the consequences of “crimmigration” since the Reagan presidency, the authors suggest this struggle will continue amid Trump Administration’s ongoing characterization of immigrants as criminal. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Rumbaut, R. G., Dingeman, K. & Robles, A. (2018). Immigration and Crime and the Criminalization of Immigration. Gold, S. J. & Nawyn, S. J. (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: