Immigrants and refugees have been in the spotlight recently as targets of President Donald Trump and the so-called “alt-right” (i.e., white supremacists). From the beginning of his campaign to his first days in office, Trump has framed immigrants and refugees as threats to the health, safety, and well-being of our communities. These characterizations could not be further from the truth.
Scientific American recently published an article detailing several studies on the relationship between immigration and crime. The findings were clear. “Cities and neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have lower rates of crime and violence, all else being equal,” according to Charis E. Kubrin of University of California, Irvine, and Graham Ousey, College of William and Mary.
“Although there are always individual exceptions, the literature demonstrates that immigrants commit fewer crimes, on average, than native-born Americans. Also, large cities with substantial immigrant populations have lower crime rates, on average, than those with minimal immigrant populations,” said Robert Adelman, University at Buffalo, and Lesley Reid, University of Alabama.
Further evidence suggests the chances of being killed in an act of terrorism committed by a refugee are just one in 3.6 billion. Alternatively, the chances of being struck by lightning in the United States in a given year is one in 700,000–more than 5,000 times higher.
While correlation doesn’t show causation, it will be difficult for opponents of immigration and refugee resettlement to argue our communities will be made unsafe by offering safe new homes. Meanwhile, it will be easy to show the real-life costs of refusing to provide shelter and protection to those fleeing war and persecution.
Image by Haeferl and used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.