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Does the Detention and Deportation of Illegal Immigrants Reduce Crime? A Nationwide Examination of the Impact of 287(g) agreements on Violent and Property Crime

Award Information

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Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $248,077)

This proposed research attempts to add to our knowledge on the efficacy of immigration enforcement on reducing crime. Using data that was obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, this study proposes to test the crime reduction benefits of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 287(g) program. This program was established by the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, and it allows the Department of Homeland Security to enter into written agreements with selected state and local law enforcement agencies and authorize them to perform the functions of an immigration officer. These functions include detaining illegal immigrants and identifying them for removal from the United States.

The proposed quasi- experimental design uses the 216,568 cases of illegal immigrant detentions in the 54 counties granted 287(g) enforcement authorization across the United States from 2005-2010 to discern whether they had an impact on crime. Using propensity score weighting and difference in differences analysis, the proposed methods will estimate the effects of the program’s implementation on Uniform Crime Report (UCR) violent and property crime and estimate the elasticity of crime with respect to the intensity of the number of immigrants detained.

In addition to testing the direct effects of the program, this study also tests whether the program resulted in the displacement of crime to nearby counties, which is an important yet understudied aspect of immigration enforcement. The results of this research will provide policymakers with strong empirical evidence to help guide their decision-making in immigration enforcement programs.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: September 5, 2018