Depending on the mood of the country, immigrants are either welcome additions to a melting pot that always needs youth, or they're a pox upon our country, contributing to violence, crime and disease. But research dating back at least a century unequivocally shows that the foreign-born are involved in crime at significantly lower rates than their U.S.-born peers.
"We don't always express these strong levels of apprehension or anxiety toward immigrants. Rather, these feelings build as the immigrant population grows," said Bianca E. Bersani, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts and the lead author on a new paper investigating the link between immigration and crime. "There is an ebb and flow that coincides with increasing and decreasing levels of immigration to the U.S."