According to two new studies, immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than U.S. citizens. One study by the Sentencing Project, a criminal justice research group, concluded that residents born outside of the U.S. have a lower crime rate than U.S. born citizens.
The second study, from Cato Institute, compared crime rates by migratory status, ethnicity, and gender. It found evidence to the contrary to the common belief among many people that immigrants are more likely to commit crime than others in the United States.
Politicians such as Donald Trump have stigmatized immigrants as an economic threat and a source of increasing crime, encouraging President Trump to propose a border wall with Mexico at a budget of $3 billion dollars.
“I think the study is giving the proof of something that many of us already knew was true,” said Cleo Ramirez, a student at Sacramento City College. “I think this information could help us finally beat the stereotype of immigrants being criminals.”
The Cato study suggests the between the ages of 18-54, 1.54% of U.S. born citizens are jailed while a lower 0.85% of undocumented immigrants are jailed with an even lower 0.47% of documented immigrants being incarcerated.
“There’s always the horrible, fallacious view that you have to go after immigrants and then you point out a few immigrants that have committed horrible crimes,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.). “You could do the same with mothers. I remember quite well a mother taking her children and driving them into a lake, and they all drowned. You wouldn’t make the argument then that mothers are bad and we have to go after mothers because mothers are criminal.”
“I don’t believe that,” says Richie Nunez, another Sacramento City College student who disagrees with the findings of the two studies. “Like I know it may be reassuring but I just can’t believe that. I’ve known many Hispanics and immigrants and a lot of them are doing bad things. It’s just hard for me to believe the study and I think it should be investigated further.”
While feelings may rule how we react to people living within our country, the data and facts suggest when would give everyone another look.