The Sociological Quarterly
Journal Article URL
Researchers studying the relationship between immigration and crime frequently note the discrepancy between actual rates and public perceptions of criminal behavior by immigrants. Analyzing staff‐ and reader‐generated texts in a local newspaper, we find that this connection is maintained through a conflation of key terms, assumptions of the legal status of immigrants, and a focus on high‐profile criminal acts. We argue that the discourse of immigrant criminality has been critical in constructing social boundaries used in recent immigration legislation. Our analysis helps explain why current scholarly findings on immigration and crime have had little influence in changing public opinion.
Sohoni, Deenesh and Sohoni, Tracy P., Perceptions of Immigrant Criminality: Crime and Social Boundaries (2013). The Sociological Quarterly, 55(1), 49-71.
This is the accepted (post-print) version of the manuscript.