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Immigrant Inmates in the Correctional System


In the last 20 years, the immigrant population has increased by "70 percent to about 43 million," making up about "13 percent of the population" with "one in every four Americans" being "either an immigrant or the child of one" with estimates that "one million immigrants have come legally to the United States each year" since 2000 (Preston, 2016). The Pew Research Center (2008) illustrated that by 2050 one in five Americans (19%) will be foreign-born; non-Hispanic Whites who comprised 67% of the population in 2005 will now be 47%; Hispanics will rise from 14% of the population in 2005 to 29%; Blacks will represent around 13%; and Asians, who were 5% of the population in 2005, will be at 9%. By 2050, 54% of the American population will be minorities.

With this changing cultural landscape has come some contentious political divides. For example, recently the United States presidential election of 2016 brought to the forefront a growing public perception that immigrants take jobs away from Americans by lowering wages because they work for less, and if they are undocumented or from certain geographic regions, they are more prone to violence. In 2016, during the presidential election, one candidate when speaking about illegal immigrants said they "compete directly against vulnerable American workers" and that he would "boost wages and ensure jobs were offered to American workers first" (Preston, 2016). 

However, a 2016 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that conducted research from 14 leading economists, demographers, and various other scholars did not support the stereotype that illegal immigrants are taking away jobs (Blau & Mackie, 2016). Numerous researchers have found that the "most commonly invoked explanation for why native populations express negative views towards newcomers" is they fear that "immigrants threaten the social position and control over valuedd resources of the native-born" (Timberlake & Williams, 2012). 


Khaja, K. & Jaggers, J.W. (2018). Immigrant INmates in the Correctional System. Springer (Ed.), Serving the Stigmatized: Working within the Incarcerated Environment (pp. 333-350). Oxford University Press. 

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Last Updated: 12/12/23