Data and code for: Comparing crime rates between undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants, and native-born U.S. citizens in Texas


We make use of uniquely comprehensive arrest data from the Texas Department of Public Safety to compare the criminality of undocumented immigrants to legal immigrants and native-born U.S. citizens between 2012 and 2018. We find that undocumented immigrants have substantially lower crime rates than native-born citizens and legal immigrants across a range of felony offenses. Relative to undocumented immigrants, U.S.-borns are over two times more likely arrested for violent crimes, two and half times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and over four times more likely to arrested for property crimes. In addition, the proportion of arrests involving undocumented immigrants in Texas was relatively stable or decreasing over this period. The differences between U.S.-born citizens and undocumented immigrants are robust to using alternative estimates of the broader undocumented population, alternate classifications of those counted as “undocumented” at arrest, and substituting misdemeanors or convictions as measures of crime.

Metadata Access
Creator Light, Michael
Publisher ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Contributor United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice; National Science Foundation
Publication Year 2020
Rights Download; This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
OpenAccess true
Contact ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Resource Type Dataset; administrative records data
Discipline Social Sciences