Crimes committed by undocumented aliens is a real issue
Nolan Rappaport, opinion contributor

© iStock

Is there a correlation between immigration and crime? Many studies have concluded that immigration does not increase crime.

According to an article in Scientific American, immigration-crime research over the past 20 years has corroborated the conclusions of a number of presidential commissions that immigration does not increase crime. In fact, the literature indicates that immigrants commit fewer crimes, on average, than native-born Americans.

But very few of these studies have focused on “illegal” immigration, as opposed to immigration generally, which includes legal as well as illegal.

Some of the reports on this research appear to be trying to discredit people who have expressed concern about immigrant crime, and it may be easier to do this if the research focuses on immigration generally without drawing attention to crimes committed by aliens who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.

Some organizations, however, such as the CATO Institute, have focused on the connection between illegal immigration and crime — and have not been able to get the necessary information.

CATO has just released a working paper on a study of the connection between illegal immigration and crime, but it is based on information from only one state. CATO was only able to get the information it needed from Texas. Apparently, Texas is the only state that records and keeps information about the immigration status of people entering the criminal justice system.

Information is available on undocumented aliens who have been incarcerated or taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the US Marshals Service (USMS), because President Trump asked for it at the beginning of his administration.


Published originally on the Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1 or at