The Evidence on Illegal Immigration and Crime

Key Points

Research suggests there is little connection between immigration and crime; and, to the extent any such relationship exists, immigration reduces crime rates. But there is less research specifically on illegal immigration and crime.
Recent research, however, shows that illegal immigrants are significantly less likely than native-born Americans to be arrested, convicted and incarcerated. Evidence also suggests illegal immigrants have a beneficial effect on crime as they tend to bring down crime rates in their communities.
Policymakers should rethink enforcement policies based on the misconception that illegal immigrants bring with them a wave of violent crime. Instead, they should implement policies that allow law enforcement the discretion to pursue the most dangerous immigration violators, and provide avenues for law-abiding and hardworking immigrants to earn or regain legal status.
Press release: Ignore What You’ve Heard, Immigration Actually Improves Crime Rates

Image credit: Hans-Joerg Nisch

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