Immigrants commit crimes and are incarcerated at a much lower rate than U.S. citizens, according to two separate studies released this week.
A study by The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice research and advocacy group, found that « foreign-born residents of the United States commit crime less often than native-born citizens. »
Another study, by the libertarian Cato Institute, compares incarceration rates by migratory status, ethnicity and gender.
Among people aged 18-54, 1.53 percent of natives are incarcerated, as are 0.85 percent of undocumented immigrants and 0.47 percent of documented immigrants, according to the Cato study of comparative incarceration rates.
The Cato study found that there are about 2 million U.S-born citizens, 123,000 undocumented immigrants and 64,000 documented foreign citizens in U.S. jails.
The Sentencing Project study even goes so far as to suggest that increased immigration « may have contributed to the historic drop in crime rates » since 1990.
While the study is « not definitive in proving causation, » it links crime trends — 730 violent crimes per 100,000 citizens in 1990 compared to 362 per 100,000 in 2014 — and immigration trends in the same period. According to the study, there were 3.5 million undocumented immigrants in the country in 1990, and 11.1 million in 2014.