SAGE

"From Anecdotes to Evidence: Immigration, Crime, and Terrorism," in Debates on U.S. Immigration (2012)

"Anti-immigrant activists are fond of telling scary stories. When it comes to the subject of immigration, crime, and terrorism, these stories are typically about individual immigrants—especially unauthorized, or 'illegal,' immigrants—who planned or committed heinous crimes or terrorist acts. Such stories are presented as proof that we should restrict immigration and 'get tough' on all immigrants to save the lives of U.S. citizens. These kinds of anecdotes may be emotionally powerful, but they are highly misleading. Obviously, dangerous criminals and terrorists must be punished, and immigrants who are dangerous criminals or terrorists should be locked up. But harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime or terrorism because the overwhelming majority of immigrants are neither criminals nor terrorists..."