Originally Posted: September 8, 2015
AUSTIN – There’s no doubt that some Americans link immigrants with crime, violence and drugs.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave voice to that view in a speech at Trump Tower earlier this summer when he described Mexicans arriving in the Untied States: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
A new study shows the opposite is true of immigrant teenagers who are less likely to commit crime, engage in violence or use drugs than their American-born peers, according to a team led by Christopher Salas-Wright of the University of Texas’ School of Social Work.
“To assume immigrants are bringing crime to the United States is not backed up by research,” said Salas-Wright. His team’s findings appear in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
Salas-Wright and others found that immigrant children ages 13 to 17 are half as likely to report binge drinking, drug use or selling drugs than their American-born teenagers.
Those who arrived in the United States at age 12 or older are one-third as likely to have sold illegal drugs or used cannabis as youths born in the United States. The odds of being involved in serious violent attacks or carrying handguns are one-third lower for immigrants ages 15 to 17.
Researchers studied national data collected from 2002 to 2009 among students who were not asked for their names or immigration status.
Among immigrants, about half identified themselves as Hispanic.
David Córdova, of the University of Michigan, a co-author of the study, said family dynamics play a key role in youth behavior. READ MORE