Where Robert J. Sampson/Harvard goes wrong in his immigrant crime study

From this story by Alex Koppelman:

On Monday, Salon spoke with professor Robert J. Sampson, chairman of the sociology department at Harvard University [wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/sampson] and most prominent member of a new school of academics who say that, contrary to widespread public belief, immigrants may actually be the secret to decreasing crime in the U.S. Sampson et al. believe their research shows immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native-born Americans, and that immigration itself may actually play a role in lowering the overall crime rate. Salon asked Sampson to rate O'Reilly and Rivera as debaters, and to explain what his research says about immigrants and Americans' perceptions of them.

Let's see what's wrong with his thinking:

[Koppelman: But, if they weren't here the crimes wouldn't have happened, right?] ...So yes, you can think of counterfactuals -- if a category of persons were not actually here, then yes, the crime would not have been committed. But let's extend that logic: If the majority of people who are in the category of producing most drunk-driving homicides or deaths were not in the country then by definition the rate of drunk-driving deaths would be reduced. So who is that? Well, they're young people, disproportionately male, disproportionately white, mainly suburban ... The perception and the stereotype is what's driving the argument, not the data.

What Sampson clearly doesn't understand is that those illegal aliens weren't supposed to be here. On the other hand, those U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who commit crimes are - for good or for ill - part of our "natural order of things". While there are certainly large numbers of Americans many of us would like to deport, we no longer do the banishment thing. On the other hand, we can deport illegal aliens. What's driving Sampson's argument seems to be something besides being able to think things through.

Since he apparently likes reading his email, please drop him a (polite) line: rsampson *at* wjh.harvard.edu


Thank's for the words "ILLEGAL ALIENS.

'which of course also points out an irony in the anti-immigrant onslaught from the far right. David Brooks has written about this. If one views family intactness as "family values," then one would be actually in favor of more immigration.' I love these academics who condescendingly try to pass themselves off as the rational and neutral voice but then say things like the above. Let's see...typical of open border cheerleaders, conveniently fails to distinguish between illegal and legal. 'Onslaught from the *far* right'...in other words, anyone who isn't in lockstep on the wonders of CIR must be an extremist engaged in meritless attack. 'Anti-immigrant'? Yeah, try to make it sound like we are all against poor little individuals. Nice try, but the sophisticated among us focus our ire on the corruption of our government and employers flouting our law. I agree with him on the value of family intactness. Naturally, it doesn't occur to him that family intactness can also be achieved by returning home to family members left behind. Gee, I guess it doesn't require that 'one would be actually in favor of more immigration' then. This little 'Lower crime, dissolve the border!' thing is just like 'Save Social Security, dissolve the border!' the guy from USC is peddling. What miracle will be attributed to unrestricted immigration next?

I believe the "native American" crime rates actually get a boost from immigration, I wonder what the crime rates would be if we classified all crimes committed by "anchor-babies" as "immigrant" crime rather than "native born crime" if the higher crime rates for "native born" persons would hold up. "Native born" doesn't differentiate between natives born to Americans and natives born to aliens. It's too bad we don't have an immigrant, alien, anchor-baby environnental, economic & criminal impact report.

Amanda, they are also claiming that "immigrants" push up the wages of native-born people in addition to "immigrants" lowering crime rates. Of course "immigrants" (they refuse to stop conflating illegals with legal immigrants) statistically push up native-born wage rates -- that's because lower-income native-born people flee areas where immigrants have pushed down their wages and the only native-born people left are higher-paid folka who can afford to live behind gated walls and send their kids to private schools. Yeah, big statistical increase for the wages of native-born people, let's all celebrate. :) The level of dishonesty and open borders propaganda being pumped out in our mainstream media at the moment is breathtaking. They aren't even trying to be half-way convincing, so cocksure they are of the rightness of their world view. About crime, the FBI recently released its rating of the most dangerous states in the Union and guess what, the border states are the most dangerous states in the Union! California was the ninth most dangerous state and Nevada (not a border state, but it borders border states if you know what I mean) was the most dangerous state. Arizona was like fourth mos dangerous if I remember correctly. Guess what the safest state was? South Dakota. Yeah, 98.9 percent white-populated South Dakota.