The Trump Hypothesis: Testing Immigrant Populations as a Determinant of Violent and Drug-Related Crime in the United States
David Green, Nagoya University Graduate School of Law, Furocho, Chikusaku, Nagoya, Aichi 464–8601, Japan 〈firstname.lastname@example.org) Search for more papers by this author
Social Science Quarterly, first published: 31 May 2016 Full publication history
Objectives: To test the “Trump Hypothesis”: whether immigrants are responsible for higher levels of violent and drug-related crime in the United States, as asserted by Donald Trump in his 2015 presidential campaign announcement. This is achieved using recent crime and immigration data, thus testing the common public perception linking immigrants to crime, and providing an updated assessment of the immigrant-crime nexus.
Methods: Rates of violent crime and drug arrests by state are pooled for 2012–2014. These are compared against pooled statistics on foreign-born and Mexican nationals living in the United States, as well as estimates of undocumented foreign and undocumented Mexican population by state. The data are analyzed using correlation and multivariate regressions.
Results: Data uniformly show no association between immigrant population size and increased violent crime. However, there appears to be a small but significant association between undocumented immigrant populations and drug-related arrests.
Conclusions: Results largely contradict the Trump Hypothesis: no evidence links Mexican or undocumented Mexican immigrants specifically to violent or drug-related crime. Undocumented immigrant associations with drug-related crime are minimal, though significant. The Trump Hypothesis consequently appears to be biased toward rhetoric rather than evidence.