Poster Paper: Immigration and Its Allies in the Heartland of America: The Moderating Effect of Pro-Immigrant Political Context and Minority/Immigrant Owned Businesses on the Association between Immigration and Crime

Thursday, November 8, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Paola Echave, The Ohio State University

A common public perception in the United States is that increases in the concentration of immigrants are associated with increases in disorder and crime. Media outlets contribute to these ideas by primarily communicating to the public about the dangers of immigration. However, the overarching finding is that immigration is associated with positive outcomes, particularly decreases in crime rates. Thus I propose that research must now focus on understanding the community characteristics that moderate the relationship between immigration and crime. In this project, I use immigrant community revitalization and immigrant political opportunities theoretical frameworks to answer the question: Do pro-immigrant political receptivity and the presence of minority/immigrant owned businesses enhance the association between increased immigrant concentration and lower crime in Columbus, OH neighborhoods? To answer this question, I use multiple sources of longitudinal data for the city of Columbus, OH at the census tract level covering the periods of 2005 to 2014 (N=204 census tracts). I compiled, coded and merged census data with information on minority political representation on candidates for the boards of education and the geographic location of businesses and immigrant focused Community Based Organizations (CBOs). CBOs are establishments that provide social services to immigrants, including but not limited to, legal assistance, citizenship classes and translation services. Preliminary results using negative binomial mixed effect models show that increases in immigration are associated with decreases in crime rates, and the presence of minority/immigrant owned businesses enhance the negative relationship between immigration and crime. The next step of this project is to understand how minority representation on candidates for boards of education and presence of CBOs moderate the effect of immigration on crime.

Keywords: Immigration, immigrant community revitalization, immigrant political opportunities, crime