Re-Examining Immigrant Crime


First-generation immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be chronic offenders than those with high levels of assimilation, according to a new study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas studied for 84 months 1,354 youths, ages 14 to 17, who were found guilty of serious offenses. For each teenager, researchers tracked official reports of arrest, self-reported offending, immigration status, ethnic identity, and measures of assimilation and disadvantage.

During the 84-month period, first-generation immigrants were less likely to commit offenses than their second-generation and native-born peers.

“Results show that first generation immigrants are less likely to be involved in serious offending and to evidence persistence in offending, and appear to be on a path toward desistance much more quickly than their peers,” researchers wrote.

They conclude that, “those with high levels of assimilation who reside in disadvantaged contexts,” are at greatest risk for persistent offending.

The full study is available for purchase HERE.

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