Texas is on the frontline of illegal immigration with its border of more than 1,200 miles with Mexico. The state has also seen the enactment of a controversial ‘sanctuary cities’ law that allows police officers to inquire about a suspect’s nationality.
Despite an intense national debate about immigration and crime, four new academic studies suggest illegal immigration does not increase the likelihood of violent crime or alcohol or drug problems.
A report on NPR noted the findings were showcased in the peer-reviewed journal Criminology.
The research was motivated by the anti-immigration stance of the Trump administration.
Michael Light, a criminologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, looked at the question of whether the recent rise in illegal immigration over the last 30 years led to a jump in the violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Light found no evidence of a correlation between the rise in undocumented immigration and violent crime since 1990.
A second study by a group of academics found no correlation between undocumented immigration and the rates of drug and alcohol arrests or the number of drug overdoses and DUI deaths in the United States.
In another study, the Cato Institute considered criminality among undocumented people in Texas alone. Laws allowing the state to record the immigration status of arrestees are helping criminologists.
The Cato study found that in 2015, conviction and arrest rates for undocumented immigrants in the Lone Star State were lower than those of native-born Americans for sexual assault, murder, and larceny.
The fourth study was published in the U.K. journal Migration Letters. young undocumented immigrants engage in less crime than people who were born in the U.S. and lawful immigrants.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said he was not surprised by the results of the four studies. The police chief of the largest city in Texas has been a vocal critic of the immigration crackdown and the new laws in Texas.
Acevedo said no wave of crime is being committed by the immigrant community and much of the violent crime is being committed by people born and raised in the United States.
Texas’ controversial Senate Bill 4 is still being challenged in the courts almost a year after its inception but much of it has been allowed to go forward.
The legislation stops law enforcement supervisors from preventing their local law enforcement officers from questioning the immigration status of people they detain or arrest.
It allows criminal sanctions against local government department heads who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration detainers.
Detainers are requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation to the federal authorities or for local jails to hold them longer subject to an immigration investigation.
Officials face jail time and penalties over $25,000 for refusing to comply with the requests.
Find out more about immigration offenses on our website. If you have been charged with an offense of this nature, you may face deportation or jail time.