Crime Impact of Houston’s Illegals Is Not Simple to Assess


The slaying of a Houston police officer by a Mexican national who returned here after being deported has again raised questions about the crime impact of the estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants living in the Houston area. Making up about 10 percent of the area’s population, this demographic – alternately scorned as freeloaders and defended as hard workers seeking better lives – accounts for 7 percent to 9 percent of those caught up in the local criminal justice system as inmates or defendants, reports the city’s Chronicle.

While various agencies acknowledge such statistics are incomplete, the numbers nonetheless indicate that immigrants living here without authorization have an impact on Harris County’s courts and jails, as well as the state’s prisons. Still, academics who have studied the immigrant population for years caution against making sweeping judgments of a vast population segment they say is unfairly suffering public wrath for the actions of a few.


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