Immigration

Want lower crime? Legalize immigrants

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Science  03 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6324, pp. 491-492
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6324.491-e

Immigrants granted legal status in Italy committed less crime compared with those who were not granted legal status. Applications for legal status are submitted online at particular times each year (“click days”) and processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Pinotti accessed data on the timing of over 110,000 applications on click days in 2007 and compared applicants who submitted before versus after the quota was reached (usually within 30 to 60 min). In the year after the click days, the crime rate declined from 1.1 to 0.8% for immigrants who applied before the cutoff but remained at 1.1% for those who missed the cutoff. The effect is dominated by those having few economic opportunities before legalization.

Amer. Econ. Rev. 107, 138 (2017).

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