One of the more common complaints I hear about illegal immigration is that low‐skilled workers from Mexico and Central America allegedly bring with them a wave of crime and incarceration expenses, especially to southern California.
Those complaints are hard to square with the mounting evidence that immigrants, even low‐skilled, illegal immigrants, are no more prone to commit crimes than native‐born Americans. The latest data point comes from Los Angeles, where the Wall Street Journal reports this morning: “Violent crime in Los Angeles hit its lowest level in more than half a century last year, one of a growing number of U.S. cities reporting its streets were remarkably safe in 2009.”
I tried to connect the dots on immigration and crime in a recent article I wrote for Commentary magazine, titled “Higher Immigration, Lower Crime.” My conclusion was entirely consistent with the latest crime report from Los Angeles:
As a rule, low‐skilled Hispanic immigrants get down to the business of earning money, sending remittances to their home countries, and staying out of trouble. In comparison to 15 years ago a member of today’s underclass standing on a street corner is more likely waiting for a day’s work than for a drug deal.