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THE IMMIGRATION-CRIME NEXUS: TOWARD AN ANALYTIC FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING AND GUIDING THEORY, RESEARCH, AND POLICY

Daniel P. Mears
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Spring 2001), pp. 1-19
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/sop.2001.44.1.1
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sop.2001.44.1.1
Page Count: 19
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THE IMMIGRATION-CRIME NEXUS: TOWARD AN ANALYTIC FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING AND GUIDING THEORY, RESEARCH, AND POLICY
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Abstract

If media accounts are to be believed, immigration to the United States is a primary cause of increased crime rates. Review of recent anticrime policies targeting immigrants would lead one to the same conclusion. Yet most empirical research suggests precisely the opposite conclusion: many immigrant groups consistently demonstrate significantly lower crime rates than do native populations. Moreover, despite early sociological research focusing on the relationship between immigration and crime, relatively little attention has been given to a range of critical theoretical and methodological issues bearing on this relationship. Taking these observations as a point of departure, several critical theoretical and methodological issues are outlined to develop an analytic framework for more systematically guiding and assessing research on the immigration-crime nexus. It is concluded that such a framework is needed for developing improved theories and facts as well as more efficient and effective policies.

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