Immigrants and Crime:

Out of the Melting Pot and into the Fire

English 102.5

Research Project


Crime is inherent in our nature. When Eve took the bite of the apple it was the first sin, but whether in legend, religion or history, all evidence leads to the same thing: as long as there are laws or rules of any kind, there will be people to break them. As the saying goes, rules are meant to be broken. Crime has no limits whether in time or space, race or culture. It is the ultimate “given” in the theorem that is the human nature. Crime in the U.S. especially has always thrived because this continent was the dumping ground for the misfits of Europe. But, because the U.S. was not a penal colony, like Australia, there was no one to really keep this place in check. Criminals ran from Europe to hide in the wilderness of the new land. As it goes, this country was based on immigrants and on the most part still consists of them. They come from all over and with them bring their culture, their ideals, their food, their language and their criminals. This is not to say that America does not have its own, or that every immigrant is a criminal, but like all people immigrants have their share of bad seeds. The focus of my research is the tendency of male immigrants to turn to crime. Male, because until recently, female roles in the grand scene of the crime underworld were purely marginal. Women were always part of international intrigue, espionage and sabotage, but that is a more international and more political scene, where as the world I am about to describe is one of fiscal purposes. The crime world of this nature varies from the small scale insurance scams that someone might pull while fighting for compensation for a fake injury in a car accident, to the grand scale of organized crime which covers some organizations that could create their


own armies and in a sense already have. I am going to focus on this century because there is a sufficient amount of studies and documentation on the different subjects that I will cover. Also the time span is a large enough one to show any recurring trends and patterns. This century is also more analyzed, graphed, and categorized than any of the centuries before so it is easier to obtain the necessary research without having to do the fieldwork from scratch. Of course not all race groups will be represented since this is not supposed to be a book and only a few examples are needed to see the patterns. In this research project I have set out to show that in this century, male immigrants into the United States go into crime not only for monetary reasons and their socioeconomic status in the society, but also because of the culture they bring with them from their homeland and their stagnant state of existence among the closed ethnic communities.

Immigrant Communities

To understand all this let us first take a look at the immigrant communities. We have all seen them on television and heard about them in music and movies. Little Italy, Brighton Beach, Mexican Barrios, Spanish Harlem are all examples of this. And how can any town survive without a Chinatown. When immigrants come, they bring their culture and language with them and of course their food. This is a natural effect of migration. When one has to let go of everything he or she knows to move to another country, and the friends and family are gone, the air smells different, the food tastes different, the land looks different, and the people think differently, it is the basic instinct of human beings to cluster together and grab on to something familiar, i.e. their fellow expatriates. People from the same country tend to pick a part of town to live in and many of them stick around for generations. This is all a


great effort to keep sane, but it tends to arrest the development of assimilation and acculturation. For instance, many people in the larger of these communities do not even speak English. Whereas for the older generations this might only be beneficial, the younger generations’ social