Interest in the relationship between immigration and crime has a long history in the United States. Since the late 19th and early 20th centuries much anxiety has been levied at the social ills associated with immigrants, and in particular, the criminal element they may bring with them (see, for example, Immigration Commission 1911). Despite these concerns, research spanning more than a century has revealed that the stereotype of the “criminal immigrant” is a myth (Hagan and Palloni 1999; Rumbaut and Ewing 2007) and that the foreign-born (e.g., first generation immigrants) are involved in significantly less crime than their native-born peers (Lee and Martinez 2009; Sampson and Laub 2005; Zhou and Bankston 2006). At the same time, however, research also demonstrates increasing rates of crime among the children of immigrants, (e.g., the second generation) (Bersani 2012; Morenoff and Astor 2006). As the second generation immigrant population continues to grow attention has shifted to understanding the reasons for the dramatic increase in offending among the children of immigrants as well as the factors that insulate the first generation from crime.
Bersani, Bianca, and Stephanie DiPietro. 2013. "An Examination of the 'Marriage Effect' on Desistance from Crime among U.S. Immigrants." Reporting to U.S. Department of Justice. (June) https://ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/242326.pdf