Legalization of Undocumented Immigrants Can Reduce Crime

Scott Ross Baker
Date of Publication: 
September, 2012
Source Organization: 

The author of this policy brief titled "Legalization of Undocumented Immigrants Can Reduce Crime," Scott Ross Baker, predicts a significant reduction in crime as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama's Deferred Action Program. He bases his conclusion on research showing sharp drops in crime after the implementation of the 1986 legalization program - a reduction apparently unrelated to any other possible explanatory variable. He speculates that this phenomenon may be caused by one or more of the following factors: more legalized immigrants started families or brought their spouses or children to live with them (crime rates in general  tend to be lower among people living in families), newly legalized immigrants were no longer fearful of going to the police to report crimes, and they had more opportunities to obtain an education and enter the formal labor market. (Abstract courtesy Nicholas Montalto, PhD.)

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Baker, S. R. (2012). "Legalization of Undocumented Immigrants Can Reduce Crime." Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Policy Brief, September, 2012, 6 pp. Retrieved from