From The Grio / By Monique W. Morris — Recent responses to immigration, including the most controversial parts of Arizona’s SB 1070, have been punitive and irrational. Nevertheless, some policymakers have remained eager to embrace them. From California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina to San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter, policymakers have been ready to support “Arizona’s efforts to protect its citizens,” even it they are “a reflection of frustration and fear” about violent crime and undocumented immigration. From creating avenues that encourage racial profiling to the expansion of detention beds, criminal justice policy is currently being shaped by the public’s misinformation about immigration and crime.
However, a new study published by the University of California, Berkeley Law School challenges the theory that immigration leads to violent crime. The study finds that during the nation’s most active years of immigration, serious crime actually declined.
Between 1991and 2008, it is estimated that more than 3.6 million foreign‐born persons migrated to California, representing a significant number of newcomers to the nation residing in the state. According to the study, during this same period, there was a dramatic decline in violent crime and serious property crime rates, at 55 percent and 29 percent, respectively. In California’s two border jurisdictions, San Diego and Imperial County, the violent crime rate declined by 58 percent and 53 percent, respectively.
“It is important to have policies that are driven by facts, not political speculations,” said Dr. Barry Krisberg, author of the study. “What we’re seeing is a new version of the super-predator myth, which affected African Americans before we turned toward immigrants.”