Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 6, 2008 / 29 Adar I 5768

Immigrants in prison? Not likely

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Warming to one of his favorite themes the other night, CNN's Lou Dobbs repeatedly invoked the phrase "criminal illegal aliens" as he did his best to feed the stereotype that illegal immigrants drive up crime. Dobbs's relentless spleen on this subject has, of course, won him a following. Seal-the-borders nativism won't get anyone elected president — just ask ex-GOP candidates Tom Tancredo, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani — but there is no denying it's good for TV ratings.


Fortunately, politicians and television personalities aren't the only people interested in immigration and crime. Consider a new study from the Public Policy Institute of California, which offers significantly more substance on the topic than anything you're likely to encounter on cable TV or in the presidential campaign.


The paper, by economists Kristin F. Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl, assesses the impact of immigration on crime by analyzing data from California, which has by far the nation's largest population of prison inmates: One-eighth of all state prisoners in the United States are incarcerated in California, as are 30 percent of all inmates who are not American citizens. What Butcher and Piehl demonstrate is that immigrants, far from being more likely to end up behind bars, are dramatically *less* likely to do so.


The numbers are striking: While immigrants (legal and illegal) account for 35 percent of California adults, they represent just 17 percent of the state's prisoners. Men born in the United States are incarcerated in California prisons at more than 2-1/2 times the rate of foreign-born men. Within the age group most often involved in crime (ages 18 to 40), US natives — astonishingly - are 10 times more likely to be in prison or jail than immigrants (4.2 percent of the former are in correctional institutions, and just 0.42 percent of the latter). Even when the focus is narrowed to inmates who were born in Mexico and are not citizens — the demographic group most likely to include illegal aliens — the rate of incarceration is only one-eighth that of men born in the United States.


Butcher and Piehl also compared crime rates among California cities. They found that the cities with greater numbers of recently arrived immigrants have lower crime rates, while cities with fewer immigrants experience higher levels of crime.


"Altogether, this evidence suggests that immigrants have very low rates of criminal activity in California," the researchers write — a finding "consistent with national studies on immigration and crime, which also find low rates of criminal activity for the foreign-born." Butcher and Piehl address the seemingly irreconcilable statistic that nearly one-fifth of federal prison inmates are illegal immigrants. In truth, they explain, there is no contradiction: Since persons arrested for immigration violations are automatically transferred to federal facilities, noncitizens are disproportionately represented among federal inmates. In any case, the federal prison population comprises only 8 percent of the total number of prisoners nationwide.


But you don't have to pore through think-tank studies to recognize that immigration, illegal or otherwise, doesn't drive the US crime rate.


Over the last dozen or so years, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has doubled to an estimated 12 million. Those same years saw a dramatic nationwide fall in violent crime and property crime. Similarly, the surge in illegal immigration didn't prevent welfare caseloads from falling or millions of new jobs from being created.


Americans may not have the statistics at their fingertips, but most of them understand that immigrants, even those who enter the country without permission, are here not to make trouble but to make a better life for themselves and their families. Yes, Dobbs has his loyalists; in a nation of 300 million people, you can find an audience to whoop it up for just about any cause. But far more Americans recognize that demonizing illegal immigrants is as bootless as it is mean. In opinion polls, only a minority of respondents say illegals should be forced to leave; the consistent majority preference is that illegal immigrants be given a way to earn American citizenship.


The most distressing spectacle of the 2008 presidential race so far was the attempt by Tancredo, Romney, and Giuliani to win their party's nomination through a Dobbsian attack on illegal immigrants. And the most encouraging development? The Republican Party's rejection of that appeal and its elevation of Senator John McCain, who had steadfastly refused to take part in the immigrant-bashing.


So chalk one up for American common sense. The anti-immigration rabble-rousers haven't disappeared — but none of them will be the next president of the United States.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles