JUNE 12, 2012
Illegal immigrants are erroneously perceived to commit more crime based on the mistaken theory their population size is much larger than it really is, according to the findings of a respected public university in a southern border state.
If this isn’t the most ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars, what is? A professor at a taxpayer-funded university in Arizona has actually published a study intended to answer a baffling question; why do so many Americans believe “undocumented immigrants” commit more crime? “The public consistently perceives immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, as criminal,” says the Arizona State University professor (Xia Wang) of criminology who set the record straight.
That’s, due in part, to the perceived population size of the immigrant community overall. “If somebody is perceiving undocumented immigrants as a larger proportion in the population, they are going to perceive undocumented immigrants at a higher level of criminal threat,” according to Professor Wang. She assures that “people have very distorted and exaggerated views of the population size of undocumented immigrants.”
U.S. government figures put it at around 12 million, give or take. The new study found that “the wright of evidence suggests that immigration is not related to more crime.” It’s all about a mistaken perception, according to researchers. “The public consistently perceives immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, as criminal,” Professor Wang says. Could it be because they have violated U.S. law by entering and living in the country illegally? Not surprisingly, that crucial fact is never considered by this group of academics.
To understand why this perception exists, Wang applied what’s known as a “minority threat perspective,” a theory that seeks to explain why “minorities are treated differently by law enforcement.” For this particular study, data was used from a poll of more than 1,000 people in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. A large proportion of respondents estimated the undocumented population to be more than half of the overall foreign born population, far greater than “recognized statistics.”
Level of education and “victimization experience” played a huge role in shaping the views of those surveyed, according to researchers. Also, U.S.-born citizens’ unemployment rate and the economic condition of their community played a role in believing “unauthorized immigrants” were more involved in crime. Researchers encourage criminologists to conclude that “minority threat perspective” could be applied to “undocumented immigrants” when compiling official reports and statistics.
As for the rest of the nation’s population, the Arizona study concludes unequivocally, that illegal immigrants “actually commit less crime than the native born.” Those who disagree aren’t being reasonable or rational, according to this brilliant piece of work. It’s all just a big mistake.
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