A Contemporary Criminal Justice Issue: Crime Against Illegal

 

A Contemporary
Criminal Justice Issue: Crime Against Illegal Immigrants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jah-Neyce Carter

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Criminal Justice Research Methods   

Criminal Justice Department                

LEC-CJ-324-B01

                                                             

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

Problem
statement……………………………………………………………………………………………………4

Research
Question/Hypothesis…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

Overall Objective/specific
aims…………………………………………………………………………………….4

LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………………………………………………………5-7

research methods…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Population………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Population and  Sample……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

Selection of Sample…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

Collection of Data/Data
analysis…………………………………………………………………………………8

threats to
realibility and validity……………………………………………………………………………………… 9

Ethics and Human
Subjects Issues…………………………………………………………………………………………. 9

LIMITATIONS………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10

REAL WORLD CONTRIBUTIONS………………………………………………………………………………….10

references……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11

 

ABSTRACT

Immigration
is a topic of heated political and social debate and it is controversial in
nature, particularly illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants do not generally
go to the police when they have become the victim of a crime for a variety of
reasons including fear of deportation, fear of law enforcement themselves,
language barriers etc. I plan to study: does residing in a country illegally
affects the likelihood of being the victim of a petty and/or violent crime. The
survey instrument/tool I will use is a questionnaire which contains the
questions for my survey.

 

Keywords: illegal immigrant, undocumented immigrant, crime, victim, fear, immigrant

Definitions

Illegal immigrant: a person who enters or stays in a country
illegally, defying that country’s laws on immigration; interchangeable with:
undocumented, unauthorized

Residing: permanent place of residence or to be
situated in.

Fear: a state of worry, anger, panic or stress due
to actual and/or perceived threat(s)

Violent crime: Index crimes, according to the FBI, such as:
rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, robbery and property crimes such
as burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft

Petty crime: equivalent of misdemeanor offenses. More
severe that violations, less severe than felonies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

introduction

PROBLEM STATEMENT

 

Illegal immigrants are not generally thought
about as victims of crimes, but they are. Data has
shown and continues to show that illegal immigrants are less likely to report
crimes that happens to them for a variety of reasons, which will be noted in
the literature review. They are a vulnerable population and have been
preyed upon because of their legal status, for example in the workplace. This
is kind of research must be expanded on more. I am specifically
interested in this study because illegal immigration has become a political and
social talking point and was amplified by our current administration’s nativist
and xenophobic campaign rhetoric. The
purpose of this study is to examine my hypothesis and render any other findings
that may arise.

RESEARCH QUESTION

Does
residing in a country illegally affect the likelihood of becoming the victim of
a petty and/or violent crime?

OVERAL OBJECTIVE/SPECIFIC
AIMS

With this research, I aim to use
my study to show illegal immigrants are victims of crime and they can
experience victimization in the same way that native-born peoples and legal
immigrants do. By studying
illegal immigrants separately, I hope to 1) contribute more information to the
criminal justice system about the likelihood of an illegal immigrant becoming
the victim of a petty and/or violent crime, 2) spread awareness about the fears
they experience with regards to the Criminal Justice system and 3) enlighten
all peoples in the U.S. regardless of their citizenship status—so when they
take part in political discourse on immigration matters, they have informed
opinions and reflect that in choosing representatives who are in charge of
creating policy. I hope to generalize my findings to the immigrant population
in U.S.A and to other countries. 

lITERATURE
REVIEW

The
Pew Research Center estimates 11.3 million unauthorized illegal immigrants
were living in the United States as of 2016 (Krogstad, Passel and Cohn, 2014). Perez-Pena (2017) notes the
current available research does not support the idea that undocumented
immigrants commit a disproportionate amount of crime relative to people born in
the United States. Essentially, illegal immigrants do not commit a certain
level of crime that’s out of proportion to amount of crime people born in the
U.S. commit.

In regard to immigrant criminality,
specifically undocumented immigrant criminality, there are severe social and
legal punishments they would be the brunt of, had they decided to break any
law(s). Rational Choice Theory explains this and Dr.

Sonja Haug (2008) summarizes Rational Choice Theory. “Individuals are seen as
resourceful actors who select from sets of alternatives, while constraints and
opportunity structures impose restrictions on their choice. A cost-benefit
analysis approach underlies the decision-making process” (Haug, pg. 586). Determining
whether or not it ‘pays’ to commit a crime is essentially what people do when
weighing the pros and cons engaging in illegal activity. Despite
the fact that the available research supports the notion that illegal
immigrants (and those who are legal) are less likely to commit crime then their
native-born neighbor and a note theory applicable to why this may be the case, the current available research is
limited in 1) distinguishing whether or not being illegal in a country is leads
to that person being victimized and 2) accounting for the number crimes
committed against illegal immigrants.

After citing a
study conducted by Gutierrez & Kirk (2015), according to Bernat (2017) says
research has shown that immigrants may be less likely to report victimization
to the police in the United States for a variety of reasons: language barriers,
fear of the police, and fear of deportation (as cited in Gutierrez & Kirk).

Many illegal immigrants feel that they cannot go to the
authorities because the authorities may inadvertently deport them. Some illegal
immigrants feel a stronger fear in coming in contact with police entirely. Having
an unfamiliarity with the quirks of the Criminal Justice system can hamper on
them reporting crime as well.

            The
work place abuses are another aspect of illegal immigrants have reservations
about whether to report or not. According to The Goldman School of Public Policy, “Unlike most American workers,
who are legally protected when they blow the whistle one employer wrongdoing,
undocumented workers don’t have this right. Because of their legal status,
employer can fire undocumented workers and hold hostage any owed wages. They
can self-audit their employment records, invite immigration authorities to
conduct an audit or simply tip off the authorities to avoid paying up” (“Protect undocumented workers who fight
abusive employees”, 2015). Extremities like the ones cited in the quote,
for some illegal immigrants, happen regularly. From this quote, employers prey
on the legal bind undocumented peoples are in and take advantage of that. This
allows continued abuses of power at the expense of undocumented immigrants
reservations about reporting work place abuses. 

John Burnett
commenting on what repercussions illegal immigrants will face under Trump’s
policies, writes, “Police officials have been warning about the unintended
consequences of Trump’s immigration dragnet. They caution it will further
isolate immigrants who are in the country illegally and are victims of crimes
like sexual assault. In Houston and in other U.S. cities, police and immigrant
advocates say: it’s already happening.” (Burnett, 2017). While Trump’s presidency
correlates with a hyper state of fear for the immigrant community (legal and
illegal), I have not
found any empirical data directly connecting Donald Trump, his administration
and/or its policies to increased underreporting of crimes from the illegal
immigrant community. For now, this is merely correlation, not causation.

While I’m not saying the illegal immigrant
population lives in obscurity, they are not the easiest to identify, so the
actual scale at which work place abuses, and crime victimization rates of them
take place should be taken into consideration, with the research already
acknowledging this. There is a general umbrella of ‘immigrant’, but immigrants
who are present in a country legally and those who are not face different challenges,
which is something I believe is worth differentiating.

My research is important because specifically
studying the illegal immigrant population is something that a lot of
researchers, have either 1) not done on its own or 2) found it hard to do so. The available research suggests that illegal immigrants
(legal too) are victimized, giving practical reasons for why this is the case
but unfortunately, the available research does not indicate explicitly if being
in a country illegal affects one’s chances of becoming the victim of a petty
and/or violent crime(s). Because of this, the gap in the research I intend to
fill is by studying: does residing in a country illegally affect the
likelihood of being the victim of petty and/or violent crime?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

OVERVIEW

            I
am using a quantitative methodology because I want to specifically study if
there is some relationship between residing in a country illegally and how that
affects the likelihood of being the victim of a petty and/or violent crime. While
acknowledging the individual experiences of this population is also important
in gathering research about them, I want to see if there’s a relationship
between the two variables using numbers only.

POPULATION
& SAMPLE

My population will be illegal immigrants and
the sampling methods I chose will be Stratified Random Sampling. I want to be
inclusive of all those who are undocumented, so I am going to use ‘race’ as my
strata. Each racial category will be as followed: Black/African,
Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Caucasian.

SELECTION OF SAMPLE

 My
sample size will be the amount of people that returned their survey completed. Those
who are not participating cannot be a part of the sample size. Other
demographical data will be considered as well, including age, gender, and
annual household income.  

COLLECTION OF DATA/DATA ANALYSIS

 

I will mail each survey with an envelope, a
form encouraging their participation and information about the proposed
research, a detailed consent form, and instructions on how and where to return
the survey. Somewhere in the consent form I will ask the participants not to
put any personal information that can identify them, such as: name, address
etc. Then at the bottom of the consent form I will remind them. I plan to
collect my data for data analysis, I will use Ordinal level of measurement,
because the questions carefully tailored on my survey will only be indicative
of order (i.e. lowest to highest). These numbers on my survey only have meaning
relative to the question being asked, the number chosen by the participant has
no mathematical bearing.

THREATS TO RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY

 

            Per
Bachman & Schutt (2016), reliability is a needed in order to establish
measurement validity (Bachman & Schutt, pg. 85). In order for me to ensure
reliability first, my questions have to be design in a way that cannot be
misconstrued or misinterpreted by participants. The same thing goes for my
concept(s), like illegal immigrant, for example. With that in place, I would
find a few people (independent of my sampling frame), to take the survey and
then have them retake the survey a few months later—this would be presuming
that person’s legal status is still the same. If the results come back similar,
I’ve achieved reliability.

Moving on to measurement validity, Bachman
& Schutt (2016) note measurement validity is achieved when a measure
measures what it’s presumed to measure (Bachman & Schutt, pg. 83). In order
to ensure measurement validity, this would mean I would have to see a positive
relationship between residing in the country illegally and an increase of
likelihood that illegal immigrants will become victims of petty and/or violent
crimes. This would be me “measuring what we think we measured” (Bachman &
Schutt, pg. 83).

ETHICS AND HUMAN SUBJECT ISSUES

 

For transparency, I will identify
myself, occupation and contact information on the consent form, before getting
into any specifics of the survey. Since the questions asked on my survey are of
a sensitive matter and my participants are also a sensitive population, confidentiality
and privacy of my sample will be upheld. I am working with a sensitive
population so: I will keep all my records in a strong box that only I have access
too while I will obtain a Privacy Certificate, absolving myself any legal
requirement to share any confidential information of my participants (Bachman & Schutt, pg. 60). In the envelope participants
receive the survey in, there will be a detailed consent form outlining that
their participation must be voluntary and un-coerced. At any time, they are
free to stop filling out the survey or not participate entirely. Both options
will come at no backlash to participants.

limitations of study

I must acknowledge the limitations that exist
within this study. It can be hard to gather a
representative sample of illegal immigrants, namely because this population are
not necessarily the easiest to identify. Additionally, I would have to account
for people who do not return and complete the surveys. With mailing the
questionnaires to my sample, 1) I’m unsure of if the participant I mailed it to
is the person completing it. Generally, people are more honest when they know
their identity is anonymous, but 2) I would still have no way of knowing if the
participant whom I mailed it to completely the questionnaire honestly and 3) I
can’t be certain if I will receive the same number of surveys back that I
originally mailed out. This is one of the more pressing concerns, considering mailing
surveys tends not to yield high return rates, which can hamper on the
generalizability of my potential findings.

real world contributions
to cj system

Reasons included in why immigrants are unwilling
to come forward when they have been a victim of a crime relates directly to law
enforcement and the Criminal Justice system entirely. It is important for the
entire Criminal Justice to demystify the perceptions illegal immigrants have,
promote transparency so that encouraging transparency and honesty—with respect
to them being victimized—won’t be as hard to do. Law enforcement needs to
become more of an ally to the illegal immigrant population. My proposed
research could also be used for institutions aside from the law enforcement,
namely: the workplace. This intended research can be helpful to our
representatives at the local, state and national level where their creation of
policy can be used created to either hinder illegal immigrants or make the
process easier for them.  

 

 

 

references

Bachman, R. D. &
Schutt, R.K. (2016). Fundamentals of
Research in Criminology and Criminal              
Justice. (6th Edition). Sage Publishing.

 

Bernat, F. (2017-04-26). Immigration
and Crime. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology. Retrieved 30 Nov. 2017, from

http://criminology.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.001.0001/acrefore-9780190264079-e-93.

 

Burnett,
J. (2017, May 25). New Immigration Crackdowns Creating ‘Chilling Effect’ On
Crime      Reporting.

Retrieved December 02, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/2017/05/25/529513771/new-immigration-crackdowns-creating-chilling-effect-on-crime-reporting

 

Gutierrez, C. M., & Kirk, D. S. (2015). Silence speaks: The relationship between immigration
and the underreporting of crime. Crime & Delinquency

 

Haug, S. (2008).

Migration Networks and Migration Decision-Making. Journal of Ethnic and
       Migration Studies, online
34(4), pp.585-605. Available at:    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691830801961605
Accessed 30 Sep. 2017.

 

Krogstad,
J. M., Passel, J. S., & Cohn, D. (2017, April 27). 5 facts about illegal
immigration in      the
U.S. Retrieved November 29, 2017. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/27/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/

 

“Protect undocumented workers
who fight abusive employers”. (n.d.). Retrieved December 02,      2017, from https://gspp.berkeley.edu/news/news-center/protect-undocumented-workers-           who-fight-abusive-employers