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Do immigrants commit more crimes than native people?

Experts warn that it's dangerous to craft immigration laws on a basis of fear, rather than facts. They note that this can happen, as immigrants are sometimes painted as likely criminals and laws get voted in because people believe they're helping to keep crime down.

In reality, that's far from the case. In fact, study after study has shown that native people are more likely to commit crimes than immigrants. This is true both for those who immigrated legally and those who come into the country without documentation. It is true no matter what level of education these individuals have. It is true no matter what country they come from.

Regardless of the variables, the statistics show that immigrants simply don't commit crimes as often as people born in the United States.

In fact, in more than two decades, it was shown that a rise in immigration coincided with a drop in crime. From 1990 to 2013, the population of immigrants in the U.S. jumped from 7.9 percent all the way to 13.1 percent. Unauthorized immigrants started out with a population of 3.5 million and then more than tripled, rising all the way to 11.2 million.

Those are huge increases, but the violent crime rate not only didn't rise in that time, but was nearly cut in half, dropping by 48 percent. Property crime also declined, falling by 41 percent.

Have you been accused of a crime in the United States after immigrating from another country? Even though this is not nearly as common as the stereotypes suggest, it does happen, and you have to know your legal options in this country.

Source: American Immigration Council, "The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States," Walter Ewing, accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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