We’d like to acknowledge the contribution of Emily Tomeu Lorenzo to Brandon Legal Group’s Legal Scholarship, an essay competition.  While not the winner, the submitted essay certainly deserved publication in a public forum.

Stephanie goes to Florida State University majoring in Psychology.

Criminal Injustice with Immigrants?

The United States is commonly known to be a “salad bowl”, because immigrants and their cultures are mixed and present throughout the country. Although Florida has progressively changed, there are still injustices with the distinction between races when it comes to applying the law. There is an imperative division between those who think that immigration contributes to crime in the United States and those who are immigration advocates. This topic is controversial, and opinions vary when attempting to decide if immigrants do reduce public safety or if they positively impact the United States. Other factors, such as the legal status of the immigrant, their background, or their education level, contribute when influencing these opinions.

Those who positively think of immigration, support the idea that “all immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives relative to their shares of the population. Even illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans” (Landgrave, and Nowrasteh, 2017). They affirm that the correlation between immigration and violent crime is illusory and that there are multiple reasons that contribute to an increment of crime in the US, such as gender, educational background, and age. 

Immigration supporters also address another issue: the government is spending immense amounts of money to investigate and prove their claim that crime is increased due to immigration. “In 2007, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spent $12 billion on border protection […]. If border protections were able to stabilize the number of immigrants in the country, preventing an increase of, say, 10%, we’d have prevented $900 million worth of property crimes. Spending $12 billion to save $900 million?” (Pavlus, 2017). They cannot conceive that government departments are willing to lose or waste money on something that, they believe, will not fix anything, but spend those taxes that could be used in favor of other citizens. Advocates of immigration leading to crime describe the process that surveys and studies go through, and how the respondents are self-reporting criminal activity, for which they either do not respond entirely truthfully because they fear being deported, or they incredibly exaggerate their crimes. This results in inaccurate and biased studies that are promoted by the media to show what the powerful minorities wish to hear and promote it endlessly, obviating the method used in the study and individual data. Immigration protesters also point out the fact that “we do know one thing for sure. Every crime committed by an illegal alien is one that would not have occurred if that alien wasn’t in the United States in the first place. That includes the hundreds of thousands of crimes committed by the 55,322 illegal aliens in the GAO study who victimized countless numbers of Americans” (Spakovsky, 2017). To demonstrate this statement, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to weekly publish a list of criminal actions committed by aliens. With this list he intends to show that “Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety. […] This is particularly so for aliens who engage in criminal conduct in the United States” (Dahl, 2017). As shown in various “opinion surveys, three-quarters of Americans believe that immigration increases crime,” says Jörg Spenkuch in his study regarding the effects of immigration to the United States.

Acknowledging both points of view helps to realize that the solution to the incrimination of immigrants could be slowly found if every state and the central government really apply the law as they should and create specific laws that address the complications that are not yet solved. The solution would be to spend less money and efforts when impeding the entrance of immigrants to the country and use it for their education and employment. This way, the barriers created in order to inculpate would be dissipated and diversity would be more accepted throughout the state of Florida and, potentially, the entire nation.

We encourage all legal students to apply for our legal essay scholarship competition.   Winning comes with a no restriction cash award.  See our scholarship page for details.

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