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Do immigrants commit more crimes?

You may have heard people claim that immigrants commit more crimes in the United States than people who are born within the country. If this struck you as odd, you may be onto something. Many studies have shown that this is not the case, no matter how many times the myth gets repeated.

For instance, one study from 2016 claimed that any immigrants -- both those who were undocumented and those who legally entered the country -- had less of a chance of ending up behind bars than people who were born in America and had that citizenship all their lives. On top of that, the study showed that things were actually trending downward, with the odds of arrest getting lower as the years went by. If anything, immigrants were getting arrested for criminal activity less often than they had in the past, not more often.

Another study looked at the numbers from 2015. What it found was that the conviction rate for undocumented immigrants came in a full 50 percent lower than people born in the U.S. They also looked at the conviction rate for documented, legal immigrants, and it was even more striking. Their conviction rate came as 66 percent lower than native-born Americans.

So, as much as people may like to repeat the myth about immigrants being linked to crime, the statistics do not bear it out. Immigrants appear to follow the laws more than those who live their entire lives as U.S. citizens.

Of course, it is still important for those who get arrested to know all of their legal defense options, especially when it seems like the weight of public opinion does not reflect reality.

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