WASHINGTON (Nov. 12, 2020)—Illegal immigration was a cornerstone of President Trump’s 2016 campaign platform. Yet, despite his (and others’) anti-immigrant rhetoric, research suggests there is little connection between immigration and crime. In fact, immigration tends to reduce crime rates.

In a new policy short, R Street resident fellow of criminal justice and civil liberties, Jonathan Haggerty, examines the evidence on illegal immigration and crime, and finds that 18 out of 19 recent studies examining that relationship suggest that illegal immigrants have a neutral or positive effect on crime rates and that they commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans.

“If the public is unaware of this evidence, and if policymakers pass laws based on faulty assumptions rather than accurate research, misguided policies will follow,” said Haggerty. “Investing billions into enforcement programs that grab headlines but do not improve public safety on the mistaken belief that illegal immigrants are waging warfare on American streets would be a substantial misallocation of resources.”

Read the full policy short, “The Evidence on Illegal Immigration and Crime,” here.

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