The ‘Migrant Crime’ Wave, Debunked

“Some undocumented immigrants have committed atrocious crimes, but there are many reasons to doubt that recent incidents prove America is suffering a surging migrant crime wave.

Crime is actually down in the cities that received the most migrants as a result of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s busing operations. “Overall crime is down year over year in Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, New York and Los Angeles,” NBC reported.

“We don’t have real-time data, but the partial crime data that exist for this year show consistent declines in major crimes in major cities,” concurs David J. Bier, director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute. “The most significant crime spike in recent years occurred in 2020—when illegal immigration was historically low until the end of the year.”

This aligns with historic trends. In 2015, the Migration Policy Institute found that undocumented immigrants have a lower rate of felony convictions than the overall U.S. population does. Criminologists Graham Ousey and Charis Kubrin, going off of “more than two decades of research on immigration and crime,” concluded that “communities with more immigration tend to have less crime, especially violent crimes like homicide,” wrote The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler.

Alex Nowrasteh, vice president for economic and social policy studies at Cato, found that illegal immigrants have a lower homicide conviction rate in Texas than native-born Americans do. “Few people are murderers, and illegal immigrants are statistically less likely to be murderers,” wrote Nowrasteh. “We should understand that more enforcement of immigration laws will not reduce homicide rates.””

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