Migration and Human Rights (46): The “Criminal Immigrant” Stereotype, Ctd.

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citizenship / international relations / law
fox news peddling the criminal immigrant lie

Fox News stirring up some anti-immigrant sentiment

As is often the case, there’s public opinion, there’s empirical reality, and there’s a lot of space between the two. One particularly harmful public myth is the one about the “criminal immigrant”. It’s harmful in several ways: it whips up support for immigration restrictions, which help to keep many foreigners poor, and it contributes to feelings of insecurity, which in turn lead to tough-on-crime policies and high rates of incarceration.

I’ve already argued several times before against this stereotype, but for some inexplicable reason my writing doesn’t seem to sway public opinion. Hence, here I go once again.

First, here’s U.S. public opinion on the matter (via the General Social Survey):

US public opinion on immigration and crime

Other countries have similar numbers:

Kitty Calavita’s recent study in southern Europe, for example, reports that in Spain in 2002 a national poll found that 60 percent believed that immigrants were causing increases in the crime rate, while a survey conducted in Italy found that 57 percent of Italians agreed that “the presence of immigrants increases crime and delinquency.” (source)

Now, the facts:

Both contemporary and historical studies, including official crime statistics and victimization surveys since the early 1990s, data from the last three decennial censuses, national and regional surveys in areas of immigrant concentration, and investigations carried out by major government commissions over the past century, have shown instead that immigration is associated with lower crime rates and lower incarceration rates. (source)

Some data are here and here. In the U.S., crime rates have gone down when at the same time immigration rates have gone up.

More posts in this series are here.


  1. Pingback: Migration and Human Rights (48): The Arguments Against Immigration, and How They Are Mistaken | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

  2. Pingback: We Are All Immigrants | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

  3. Pingback: Human Rights Maps (185): Routes of Irregular Migration to Europe | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

  4. Pingback: Migration and Human Rights (52): Remote Border Controls, Or How to Deal With Poor People On the Move | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

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