Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Immigrants and Crime
Judith Ann Warner
In the American imagination, immigrants and criminal activity are linked. The social reality of immigrant involvement with crime is actually mixed. First, one needs to consider whether crime unrelated to immigrant status (ranging from shoplifting to homicide) is the type of act being considered. Second, one has to decide whether entrance into the United States without required documents should be considered different from other civil and criminal offenses. Finally, there are visitors who legally enter the United States and then “overstay” their visas, thus becoming undocumented and illegal residents. When considering the criminality of immigrants, a differentiation needs to be made between traditional crime and crimes involving national sovereignty. The government classifies the first entry by an undocumented migrant as a civil violation. A second attempt is a felony offense. This entry provides an overview of the critical issues related to the immigration and crime debate. Current estimates are that ...