Does Illegal Immigration Increase Crime? We’re Asking the Wrong Question


A recent poll from Rasmussen Reports finds that most Americans believe illegal immigration is increasing the level of serious crime in the USA. Fewer than 10 percent say it decreases the level of severe crime.

In other words, most voters are siding with Donald Trump at this point. Not surprisingly, the remnant legacy media are up to their usual games, claiming that there’s no good data so you don’t really know. They also claim that, by slicing and dicing, you can conclude the various immigrant groups don’t increase the crime level. All this in the relentless effort to prove that Trump is a liar, we’d assume. The Washington Post today gave Trump “four Pinocchio’s” for his claim. See a pattern here?

But don’t Americans have the right to ask for more than this? The question should be, “in what way does illegal immigration improve public safety for Americans?” And “does immigration generally, and illegal immigration in particular, reduce crime?” If immigrants proportionally commit fewer crimes than natives (not true in many cases depending on how you massage the data), then immigration could reduce the overall crime rate by increasing the ratio of the population to criminal offenses. But does it actually reduce crime itself? Clearly the answer must be “no,” because illegal immigration is a criminal offense, as are the frauds and misrepresentations associated with illegal immigration. Virtually all illegal aliens commit some sort of identity fraud, and many are guilty of tax evasion.

But even if it were true that illegal aliens commit fewer violent crimes, these are crimes that could have and should have been avoided if federal, state and local governments took immigration enforcement seriously. Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco would be alive today if immigration were properly controlled.

In the upcoming campaign, it’s time for a grown up discussion about the consequences of mass and illegal immigration for Americans. How does it benefit America? We know how it might benefit one particular political party. We know how it might benefit those who like lower wages. But how about the rest of us? Isn’t it time?

avatar About Dan Stein

Dan is FAIR's President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar Unicorn73 says:

    Unlawful presence is a crime from the beginning! Everyday there are scores of Hispanics milling around our local Home Depot store. Who knows how many are fence hoppers!

  2. avatar SecBorders says:

    I read today that that Senators Feinstein and Boxer are acting outraged about what happened in SF. Too little, too late Senators. I can’t remember the number of times I have called and sent info to their offices about illegal immigration, only to have them continue to promote open borders. Now they have the gall to pretend their policies have nothing to do with what happened. If it was not so easy for this illegal alien to enter this country illegally he never would have been in SF in the first place so it would not have mattered how SF handled his case because he wouldn’t be there. Typical lying politicians. Sickening.

    • avatar SecBorders says:

      Also, people need to start boycotting sanctuary cities as much as possible in order to put financial pressure on them to rescind their sanctuary city policies. Do not give sanctuary cities your tourist dollars. If they don’t care about your safety and that of your friends and family, as well as our national security, why give them your money?

  3. avatar John says:

    A place I worked at fired an illegal worker. We thought he was legal. Only after firing him did we find out he was using his cousins identity. We also found out his cousin filed for unemployment claiming he was laid off from our company.

    • avatar Bill Richardson says:

      All too common… Likewise, many of them take decent paying American jobs by using someone else’s social security numbers, sometimes for decades.

  4. avatar Leland says:

    Identity fraud, obtaining driver’s licenses under false pretenses, and not paying taxes and Social Security on income earned are only considered crimes when American citizens commit them. When citizens of other countries here illegally do those things, they get a pass. Not only a pass but a lot of politicians want to reward them with citizenship. Perhaps the Washington Post could address that issue.

    i remember reading a story a couple years ago where an American citizen kept having constant identity problems for well over a decade. He was turned down for a passport because supposedly he “already had one”. His SS number was being used by someone else here illegally, but when he asked them to sort out the issue and question the person who was simultaneously using his, they refused because of “privacy concerns”. This is far from an isolated instance. So no one should pretend American citizens are not heavily impacted by illegals.