University of California professor Ruben Rumbaut, an expert on immigration and crime, looked at 2000 Census data on the institutionalized population in the United States, most of whom are in prisons, and came up with these astonishing facts. Immigrants are far less likely to be in jail or prison than other U.S. residents.
Of the U.S. population of 45.2 million men ages 18 to 39 (those most likely to be in the criminal population), 3 percent were incarcerated, or about 1.3 million at the time of the 2000 Census. But of these, blacks, whites and U.S.-born Hispanics had incarceration rates that dwarfed those of immigrants. Only .7 percent of Mexican-born males were in prison or jail, compared with 3.51 percent of all U.S.-born males, which includes 1.71 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 11.6 percent of blacks and 5.9 percent of Mexican Americans.
For all foreign-born groups, immigrants have lower incarceration rates than all U.S.-born racial and ethnic groups do, including whites.
Immigrants typically enter America past the prime age to fall into a life of crime via a youth gang. They are also intimidated by fears of deportation, and some immigrant criminals escape imprisonment by fleeing back to Mexico.
These statistics are not actually good news. In fact, they are the opposite. We are always told that the magic of assimilation into the middle class will solve all the problems with the current illegal immigrants, but what this says is that Mexican immigrants assimilate over time toward African-American norms of criminality. The problem of Mexican crime in the U.S. will thus inevitably get worse.
What Linda is saying, although she doesn't realize it, is that America is brewing up an unholy mess for itself in the future by taking in so many Mexican immigrants today. The problem is that as Mexican-Americans assimilate over the generations, they become radically more criminal than their immigrant forefathers, and about 3.4 times more crime-prone than non-Hispanic whites, and more than half as criminal as African-Americans, which is pretty bad.
This leads to a demand from employers for more hair-of-the-dog that bit us. In the 1945-65 era, northern employers wanted more black men from the South, but the generation that grew up on the streets of the Northern cities became much more crime-prone than their fathers who had migrated from the Jim Crow South. So, employers turned from hiring local blacks to hiring Mexican immigrants. But their American-born sons are falling into youth gangs, so American-born Mexicans are following blacks into unemployability. So, employers want more fresh immigrants who are too intimidated to cause trouble. And the cycle goes on and the underclass grows ever larger.
Life in America tends to undermine self-discipline and other forms of human capital, so our immigration system should be designed to only take in immigrants with much more human capital than the American average, so that it will take several generations for their offspring to deteriorate just down to the American mean. Instead, we're taking in millions of immigrants who are already below our average, and a large fraction of their children and grandchildren decline into the underclass.