Lesson From 1965: More Immigrants = More Violent Crime

Article author: 
Edwin S. Rubenstein
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
23 May 2013
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

The 2013 Schumer-Rubio Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill now being debated aims to double legal immigration from what are already historic highs. In many ways, it can be regarded as the 1965 Immigration Act on steroids.

The 1965 Act notoriously unleashed an era of mass immigration after a 40-year lull, and shifted the ethnic mix of new immigrants from predominantly European to Hispanic and Asian. It is responsible for setting the US on the path to a white minority by 2040 or so...

Crime rates have been falling for some two decades, while the foreign-born share of the U.S. population has been increasing. Immigration enthusiasts regularly tout this coincidence, but they are being intellectually dishonest. They simply don’t look back far enough.

A historic crime wave accompanied the post-1965 era of mass immigration. To this day, violent crime rates have not returned to the levels of the early 1960s.

The national crime rate—violent crimes per 100,000 population—rose from 200.2 in 1965 to a peak of 758.2 in 1991, according to historical FBI crime data. That was an increase of 279%. It’s now back down to 403.6.

Over the same period, California’s violent crime rate exploded by 356%. In New York State, the violent crime rate peaked in at 1,180.9 per 100,000 population in 1990, or nearly 25% above the national rate that year. It can hardly be a coincidence that California and New York were the epicenters of mass immigration in the decades following 1965.

We are not arguing that immigration was the only reason crime surged, but it certainly played a role. Similarly, crime has declined after 1990 for many reasons, including tougher enforcement—but immigration has played a role in retarding that decline.

Typical of the utterly irresponsible attitude of all levels of American government to the post 1965 immigrant influx, there has been no systematic effort to collect data on foreign-born crime...