The Effects Of Immigration On The United States

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Especially in light of the recent refugee crisis, there has been an influx of anti-immigration rhetoric, most of which identifies immigrants and refugees as criminal. This has brought to light an ongoing debate: is there a crime-immigration nexus? This paper will explore data from various studies that have examined not only a negative relationship between crime rates and immigration, but also evidence of protective and generational effects of immigration. Arguing that immigration reduces crime rates rather than increases it, it will then examine the various theories that seek to explain this phenomenon. Many scholars are of the opinion that rather than a crime-immigration nexus, there is instead a paradox. This refers to the idea that many theories of crime causation, when extended to immigrant populations should result in there being higher crime rates; however, the opposite has been found empirically. This is true even though immigrants tend to be young, male, and poorly educated, which are characteristics generally linked to criminal populations (Butcher & Piehl, 1998). Furthermore, this negative linear relationship is found when gender, age, socioeconomic status, and ethnic origin are controlled for (Systma, 2016). The idea of immigration causing higher crime rates has also been refuted by empirical evidence. Proponents of this idea usually point to social disorganization theory, or strain theory. The former identifies a number of factors that lead to higher crime
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