By Rondell Treviño, Founder/Director, The immigration Project
In 2017, according to Gallop Polls, Almost half of Americans, many Christians, agreed Immigrants make crime worse. So the famous question is, does Immigration drive crime in the United States?
According to the Marshall Project, the Immigrant population has grown tremendously in the United States, and fascinatingly enough, crime has also moved in the opposite direction in the same period with the National rate of crime well below what it was in 1980. In other words, Immigration seems to have the effect of reducing the average crime in the United States, not heightening it.
In other words, Immigration seems to have the effect of reducing the average crime in the United States, not heightening it.
Now, this does not mean there is never any crime committed by Immigrants in the United States or that zero Immigrants are coming to the country undocumented. Pew Research reported that of the 11.5-12 million undocumented Immigrants in the United States, 6-7 million Immigrants entered the country undocumented without inspection, thus breaking the law–many of which are first offense crimes comparable to running a red light. Others entered multiple times after being detained and sent out of the country, thus breaking the law, which is a felony. The other 4.5-6 million undocumented Immigrants in the United States entered legally but overstayed their visa.
What’s important to remember is with all the complexity that comes with Immigration, we must seek to find the fact as Christians, not believe everything we hear on social media and the news–of which often times we can find ourselves doing. We must research ourselves. When we do this, we will find that since Immigration has increased since 1980 over one hundred percent, the violent crime rate in America has decreased over thirty-five percent. Overall, Immigration reduces crime and makes our communities a little safer. Maybe God is sovereignly bringing Immigrants and Refugees to the United States to make it a safer place?
Overall, facts matter. I pray this data helps us all as Christians throw off some of the fear we have with Immigrants, and instead find ways to engage with them in proximity because not only is it a command (Luke 10:25-37), but also because only 41% of Pastors say that their Church is personally involved at the local level in assisting Immigrants, 68% of Christians say their Church has never encouraged them to reach out to Immigrants, 79% of Christians have never heard a sermon at their Church specifically about reaching out to Immigrants, and among people of non-Christian religious traditions living in the United States–most of the Immigrants, 60% say they do not personally know a Christian. Not they have not been to Church or never heard the Gospel, but that they do not know a Christian on a personal level.
Let’s change these stats because Immigrants are safer than we think.
The immigration Project exists to equip the Church to embrace a balanced approach to Immigration that shows compassion to Immigrants and respects the rule of law.