Donald Trump is wrong - immigrants are less likely to commit crimes

Mr Trump has vowed to build a wall on the US-Mexico border

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Donald Trump has been challenged over his claim that immigrants to America were a major source of crime.

“My administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security,” he told Congress on Tuesday night

“By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed - but that can't happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders.”

He said that in order to protect the border, his government will “will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border”. 

“It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime,” he said.

Trump says 'every problem can be solved'

But Mr Trump’s claim was challenged. Steve Rattner, the former head of Barack Obama Auto Task Force, said on Twitter: “Memo to Trump: immigrants are much less likely to be criminals than native born Americans.”

He linked to a study by the Pew Research Centre that showed new arrivals to the country were far less likely to commit crime that native-born Americans.

One study suggested that while 25 per cent of native born 16-year-olds were involved in at least one crime in the last year, among new arrivals the figure was around 16 per cent.

“Why does the crime rate soar among second-generation immigrants compared with their foreign-born peers?  Until recently, most sociologists have explained this increase by noting that many second-generation immigrants feel caught between two conflicting worlds - the old world of their parents and the new world of their birth,” said the study.

“But recently researchers have posited an alternate theory: Second-generation immigrants are just “catching up” with the rest of us.”