« US Sentencing Commission releases new proposed guideline amendments to address synthetic drugs | Main | "Sentencing in Time" »

January 21, 2018

"Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by John Lott available via SSRN that a helpful reader made sure I did not miss.  For a host of reasons, John Lott is a controversial empiricist, and this latest paper could surely stir up some new controversies.  Here is its abstract:

Using newly released detailed data on all prisoners who entered the Arizona state prison from January 1985 through June 2017, we are able to separate non-U.S. citizens by whether they are illegal or legal residents. Unlike other studies, these data do not rely on self-reporting of criminal backgrounds. Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. There are dramatic differences between in the criminal histories of convicts who are U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.

Young convicts are especially likely to be undocumented immigrants. While undocumented immigrants from 15 to 35 years of age make up slightly over two percent of the Arizona population, they make up about eight percent of the prison population. Even after adjusting for the fact that young people commit crime at higher rates, young undocumented immigrants commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. These undocumented immigrants also tend to commit more serious crimes.

If undocumented immigrants committed crime nationally as they do in Arizona, in 2016 they would have been responsible for over 1,000 more murders, 5,200 rapes, 8,900 robberies, 25,300 aggravated assaults, and 26,900 burglaries.

January 21, 2018 at 12:35 PM | Permalink


Immigrants have low crime rates. Illegal aliens have a high crime rate. Immigrants are screened prior to arrival. Illegal aliens are driven here by their home countries because they are undesirable people.

Immigrants are more likely to vote for the Republican Party, appreciating what they have here.

Illegal aliens are already voting for the Democratic Party. They elected Barack Obama to his second term. This effect explains the defense of illegal aliens by the Democratic Party. They are trying to shift the balanced voting in our divided nation. The Democratic Party is the party of the traitor lawyer profession.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 21, 2018 1:13:45 PM

using data on persons released from prison overemphasizes undocumented aliens because they are much less likely to be placed on probation than legal resident aliens. Also ignores the fact that they are more likely to be hispanic and thus are targeted by police, and are likely to be more harshly prosecuted as well. writing as a public dfender in Arizona since 1993.
On the plus side, undocumented aliens are now rare in Arizona, given the extreme racial prejudice they face here.

Posted by: StevenHarvey | Jan 21, 2018 7:06:08 PM

California grants driver licenses to everyone, without verification of citizenship. Upon getting a driver's license, one is registered to vote. Thus illegal aliens getting driver's licensing will be voting for the Democratic Party.

This is the path to felon enfranchisement, driver's licenses without question, with automatic registration to vote.

The Democratic Party may never be voted out of office in California, ever.

The immunity granted to the states in the Eleventh Amendment, and in its expansions by the Supreme Court means violence against state officials has full justification in formal logic. Formal logic has no exception. It is more absolute than the laws of physics.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 21, 2018 9:33:15 PM

Criticize the immigrant rapists of a 5 year old white girl, go to prison. Thank the lawyer profession.


Posted by: David Behar | Jan 21, 2018 9:38:25 PM

Joe could not be reached for comment.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 22, 2018 6:23:47 PM

I agree that immigrants alone have a low crime rate, and that illegal immigrants make up a good part of our crime rate. What we haven’t talked about though is the fact that the illegal immigrants that make up our society are taking away from jobs that legal citizens and legal immigrants are losing. Grant, it the illegal immigrants are causing the crime rate to be higher, but in addition to the crime rate rising Arizona citizens are losing out on jobs that they could have just because employers are able to hire these illegal immigrants under the table. This means they can avoid paying taxes, and they can get away with paying less in wages. My biggest question is – what is being done about the illegal immigrants that are not part of the criminal justice system? That are taking away from the job market? Currently, we are deporting illegal immigrants once ICE (immigrant customs enforcement) is made aware of these illegal immigrants. Here’s the thing though there are so many that slip through the cracks. Still making it possible for employers to hire illegal immigrants. Even through these employers are required by law to report who is working for them and their citizenship they are still jumping through the loopholes and getting away with hiring these people. What are we as a nation doing to prevent this from happening, and why have we not see a bigger change in the job market?

Posted by: genevieve | Jan 26, 2018 2:43:12 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB