The Another

    ‘No study has found any effect of immigration on crime’



    Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin speaks at the Alliance police union congress in Tremblay-en-France (Seine-Saint-Denis) on April 6, 2023.

    Fighting against delinquency among foreigners is one of the government’s stated objectives when it defends the need for a new immigration law. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wants to make it easier to deport foreigners who commit crimes, at the risk of lumping all foreigners together. During a televised interview on October 26, 2022, President Emmanuel Macron also correlated crime with high levels of illegal immigration: “When we look at crime in Paris today, we cannot fail to see that at least half of the crime we observe comes from people who are foreigners,” he said. These comments are echoed by public opinion. According to a BVA poll for the Fondation Jean Jaurès published in April, the ideas with which the French most associate immigration are insecurity and violence.

    Read more ‘At least half of Paris crime is committed by foreigners’: Where does Macron’s claim come from?

    However, a study shows that this is not the case. Released on Wednesday, April 19, by the Center d’Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales (CEPII, Center for International Prospective Research and Data), under the auspices of the prime minister’s office, it asserts that “immigrants are not the cause of an increase in crime rates in host countries.” To support their statement, the authors, economists Arnaud Philippe and Jérôme Valette, drew up an inventory of research on the subject in several countries. And they noted that “no study has found any effect of immigration on crime.”

    “The number of crimes committed in a country does not increase as a result of a migratory wave,” Philippe insisted. There is one exception: A small proportion of immigrants are “slightly more likely to commit a theft when they do not have access to the labor market,” the authors wrote. This has been documented in the United Kingdom and Italy. The studies cited by CEPII find that theft is correlated with immigrants’ lack of access to work. “In the United Kingdom, there was indeed an increase in property crime following the first [migratory] wave of the 2000s (mainly Somali, Afghan and Syrian refugees), but not for the second (immigrants from Eastern Europe).” In the second case, immigrants had access to the labor market as EU citizens, whereas in the first case, asylum seekers were excluded during their first year on British soil.

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    Similarly, in Italy, a 2017 study of two cohorts of undocumented immigrants shows that those who were legalized “had half the probability of committing an offense in the following year, a difference that is entirely explained by a significant decrease in income-generating offenses such as theft and trafficking.”

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