There is no link between immigration and increased levels of crime, a study spanning four decades has concluded.
Donald Trump has said his administration will publish a weekly list of criminal offences committed by non-US citizens – despite evidence showing “little support for the notion that more immigrants lead to more crime”.
A team of researchers led by the University at Buffalo in New York examined census data and crime reports from 200 US cities in the years between 1970 and 2010.
They found “strong and stable evidence” that crime rates are not linked to immigration, said the study’s lead author Robert Adelman, adding: “The results are very clear.”
Higher levels of immigration are in fact related to a drop in some types of crime, they discovered.
“The results show that immigration does not increase assaults and, in fact, robberies, burglaries, larceny, and murder are lower in places where immigration levels are higher,” said Dr Adelman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the university.
An executive order signed by Mr Trump on the fifth day of his presidency includes a clause requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to “on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens”.
On signing the order, which said people living in the US without the right to do so “present a significant threat to national security and public safety”, the President read out the names of US citizens who have been murdered by unauthorised immigrants.
But the order does not specify that only crimes committed by illegal immigrants should be published, raising the prospect of offences committed by any immigrant being included on the list even if the person is living in the US legally.
Human Rights Watch said the move was a sign of Mr Trump’s “xenophobia” and was “shocking in the extreme”.
.Figures from the US Justice Department analysed by the Cato Institute think tank found immigrants were one-half to one-fifth as likely to be jailed when compared with American citizens.
Around seven per cent of the country’s population are non-citizens, while five per cent of prisoners in state and federal prisons fall into that category.
The new study, published in the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, used a large, far-reaching dataset in an attempt to explore wider societal trends
related to immigration patterns, said Dr Adelman.