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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Defying the Immigrant Perception


San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Immigrants in California are far less likely to land in prison than their U.S.-born counterparts, a finding that defies the perception that immigration and crime are connected, according to a study released Monday.
Foreign-born residents make up 35 percent of the state's overall population, but only 17 percent of the adult prison population, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, which conducted the research.
Noncitizen men from Mexico between the ages of 18 and 40, which the study indicated were more likely to be in the country illegally, were eight times less likely to be in a "correctional setting," the study found.
The study did not address the visa status of those included among the foreign-born, which would include citizens and noncitizens, including those in the country legally and illegally.
Nonetheless, these results have implications for the current debates over immigration policy, said Kristin Butcher, co-author of the report."Our research indicates that limiting immigration, requiring higher educational levels to obtain visas or spending more money to increase penalties against criminal immigrants will have little impact on public safety," Butcher said in a statement.
Read the report from Public Policy Institute of California here. This cuts against the perception that undocumented individuals are driving crime in the communities they live. It also reinforces my position that we need comprensive immigration reform that includes some form of amnisty for individuals already here, a streamlined process for those who want to enter the country and increased border security.

Interestingly enough, I don't think Obama's views on immigration differ greatly from McCain's. I like Clinton's position best, mainly that she opposes a guest worker program but supports a fair wages policy.  

2 comments:

  1. Are you saying that a guest worker program is not a good idea? I am curious about why you hold that position.

    I have been thinking that the guest worker program is a good thing because of the reality of guest workers here now. It seems that it would be best to normalize these and allow rights appropriate to other workers.

    Good post by the way. I am glad to see the report for Public Policy Institute.

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  2. I admit that I'm still forming my opinion. My issue with a Bracero type program is with the wage level. We must insure that individuals make a fair living wage. Clinton's policy is that she "opposes a guest worker program that exploits workers and creates a supply of cheap labor that undermines the wages of U.S. workers. Hillary believes all workers deserve safe conditions and decent wages. She supports an Ag Jobs program, which will keep our agricultural industry vibrant while enabling agricultural workers to receive the fair wages and labor protections they ought to receive." I agree with that statement.

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