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The Empirics of Immigration and Homicide: Evidence from California and Texas

NCJ Number
Date Published
17 pages

The goal of this book chapter is to address the lack of information on basic questions regarding comparative rates of lethal violence between immigrants and U.S.-born citizens; it uses criminal history information for all arrests in California and Texas between the years 2006 and 2018 to provide an empirical foundation for general criminological literature on the immigration-homicide nexus by establishing facts about its key dimensions.


The authors address basic questions regarding the difference between lethal violence committed by immigrants and U.S.-born citizens, including: if immigrants have more violent criminal pasts than native-born citizens; how the immigrant homicide rate compares to the native-born rate; if these relationships differ based on race, ethnicity, or national origin; how the immigrant homicide rates have changed in recent years; and if the homicide rate is different for undocumented immigrants. They present their data sources and findings, which cover the following issues: violent crime and homicide rates based on immigration status; homicide rates by race, ethnicity, and national origin; criminal history profiles of immigrants who were arrested compared with native citizens’ records; and undocumented immigrants’ criminal history profiles. The authors summarize and discuss their findings in the conclusion, noting that: immigrants generally exhibit lower rates of serious violent crime in California and Texas; violent crime rates among immigrants are lower in California than Texas; in both states, there is significant difference in the immigration-homicide relationship based on race/ethnicity and national origin; in Texas, undocumented immigrants have lower rates of violent offenses than lawful immigrants and native-born citizens; and relative to the U.S.-born population, violent criminal histories of immigrants are both less extensive and less severe.

Date Published: January 1, 2024