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Scapegoating Immigrants: Arizona's Real Crisis is Rooted in State Residents' Soaring Drug Abuse

NCJ Number
Mike Males, Ph.D.; Daniel Macallair, M.P.A.
Date Published
August 2010
11 pages
This report examines crime and drug abuse trends during the large legal and non-legal Hispanic immigration in Arizona during the last two decades to determine the source of Arizona's harsh, new anti-immigration laws.
Results of the analysis indicate that over the past two decades, crime rates in Arizona have dropped significantly as Hispanic immigration has increased. In addition, the study found that from 2007 to 2010, the number of undocumented immigrants in Arizona dropped by 40 percent due primarily to the State's economic and employment difficulties. These results suggest that fears toward illegal immigrants have been mixed in with Arizona's deeper concerns regarding the State's unacknowledged increase in drug use among its resident population. Data for this study were obtained from crime reports from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, FBI Uniform Crime Reports, health data from the Arizona Department of Health Services, drug abuse data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, and drug admissions data for Arizona from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Tables, figures, and notes