Punishing Immigrants: Policy, Politics, and Injustice

Punishing Immigrants: Policy, Politics, and Injustice

Punishing Immigrants: Policy, Politics, and Injustice

Punishing Immigrants: Policy, Politics, and Injustice

Synopsis

Arizona's controversial new immigration bill is just the latest of many steps in the new criminalization of immigrants. While many cite the presumed criminality of illegal aliens as an excuse for ever-harsher immigration policies, it has in fact been well-established that immigrants commit less crime, and in particular less violent crime, than the native-born and that their presence in communities is not associated with higher crime rates. Punishing Immigrants moves beyond debunking the presumed crime and immigration linkage, broadening the focus to encompass issues relevant to law and society, immigration and refugee policy, and victimization, as well as crime. The original essays in this volume uncover and identify the unanticipated and hidden consequences of immigration policies and practices here and abroad at a time when immigration to the U.S. is near an all-time high. Ultimately, Punishing Immigrants illuminates the nuanced and layered realities of immigrants' lives, describing the varying complexities surrounding immigration, crime, law, and victimization.

Excerpt

Charis E. Kubrin, Marjorie S. Zatz, and Ramiro Martínez, Jr.

Most scholarly research on immigration and crime has focused on a subset of questions: Are immigrants more crime-prone? Do areas where immigrants reside experience higher crime rates? What are the larger connections between immigration and crime in the United States and abroad? For the most part, these questions have been satisfactorily addressed. Contrary to public opinion, it is now well-established in the scholarly literature that, in fact, immigrants commit less crime, particularly less violent crime, than the native-born and that their presence in communities is not associated with higher crime rates. Consequently, scholars are eager to move beyond the question: “Does a connection exist?”

This edited volume does just that by broadening the focus to encompass issues relevant to law and society, immigration and refugee policy, and victimization, as well as crime. There has been relatively little research on victimization among immigrants, and even fewer studies analyze legal issues of concern to immigrants and the communities in which they reside. Clearly, though, the three are interdependent and researchers must begin to consider . . .

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