Does Immigration Enforcement Reduce Crime? Evidence from 'Secure Communities'
Posted: 27 Aug 2014 Last revised: 23 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 21, 2014
Prior research investigates whether immigrants commit more crimes than native-born people. Yet the central policy used to regulate immigration—de- tention and deportation—has received little empirical evaluation. is article studies a recent policy innovation called Secure Communities. is program permits the federal government to check the immigration status of every person arrested by local police and to take the arrestee into federal custody promptly for deportation proceedings. Since its launch, the program has led to a quarter of a million detentions. We utilize the staggered rollout of the program across the country to obtain di erences-in-di erences estimates of its impact on crime rates. We also use unique counts of the detainees from each county and month to estimate the elasticity of crime with respect to con ned immigrants. e re- sults show that the Secure Communities program has had no observable e ect on the overall crime rate.
Paper available at: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/680935
Keywords: immigration, crime, deportation, secure communities
JEL Classification: K42, K37, K14, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation