Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime: The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act
46 Pages Posted: 4 May 2011 Last revised: 1 Aug 2014
Date Written: July 28, 2014
I examine the effects that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which legalized almost 3 million immigrants, had on crime in the United States. I exploit the IRCA's quasi-random timing as well as geographic variation in the intensity of treatment to isolate causal impacts. I find decreases in crime of 2%-6%, primarily due to decline in property crimes, equivalent to 80,000-240,000 fewer violent and property crimes committed each year due to legalization. I calibrate a labor market model of crime, finding that much of the drop in crime can be explained by greater labor market opportunities among applicants.
Keywords: Immigration, Crime, Policy, Amnesty, Legalization, Legal Status
JEL Classification: F22, J22, J61, K37, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?
By Milo Bianchi, Paolo Buonanno, ...
Crime and Immigration: Evidence from Large Immigrant Waves
By Brian Bell, Stephen J. Machin, ...
Should the U.S. Have Locked the Heaven's Door? Reassessing the Benefits of the Postwar Immigration
By Xavier Chojnicki, Frédéric Docquier, ...
Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behaviour: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment
By Francesco Drago and Roberto Galbiati
Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime
Empirical Characteristics of Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the U.S
By Vincenzo Caponi and Miana Plesca
Legal Status and the Criminal Activity of Immigrants
Migration Restrictions and Criminal Behavior: Evidence from a Natural Experiment