Theoretical Perspectives on the Immigration-Crime Relationship
Handbook on Immigration and Crime, edited by Anthony Peguero and Holly Miller, Forthcoming
Posted: 12 Dec 2017
Date Written: 2018
A growing body of research documents that, contrary to public opinion, immigrants commit less crime than the native-born and that increased immigration to an area is either associated with lower crime rates or is not associated with crime at all. Scholars offer several theoretical explanations to account for such findings. In this chapter, we review the most prominent of these theoretical arguments, including explanations related to self-selection, ethnic enclaves, the immigration-revitalization thesis, and family structure. At the same time, in light of the sizeable literature at the individual-level which finds that the children of immigrants who are born in the U.S. exhibit higher offending rates than their parents and that assimilated immigrants have higher rates of criminal involvement compared to unassimilated immigrants, in this chapter, we also review a theoretical framework that attempts to explain this finding — downward or segmented assimilation. Our aim in this chapter is to introduce readers to some of the leading theoretical explanations on the immigration-crime nexus.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation