The role of critical criminology in confronting the “war on immigration”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The election of populist and nationalist candidate Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States has drawn significant alarm from many within the country and around the world. Of notable concern has been the discourse surrounding immigration that set the tone for his presidential campaign as well as the actions taken by his administration in the first couple of months following the inauguration. During his official announcement for the presidential bid, Trump stated, When Mexico sends its people, they‘re not sending their best. They‘re not sending you. They‘re not sending you. They‘re sending people that have lots of problems, and they‘re bringing those problems with us. They‘re bringing drugs. They‘re bringing crime. They‘re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. (Washington Post Staff, 2015) Despite substantial empirical evidence suggesting otherwise, immigrants have long been scape-goated for a host of social problems, including crime (Lee, 2013). Although the connection between immigration and crime has largely been disproven by dozens of social scientific studies over several decades (Ousey and Kubrin, 2017; Ewing, Martinez, and Rumbaut, 2015; Martinez, Stowell and Lee, 2010), the topic of immigration and the myth of immigrant criminality quickly became central to Trump‘s campaign. Trump vowed to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants, build a border wall, and block federal funds to municipalities engaging in “sanctuary” practices (Luhby, 2016; Carroll, 2016; Lee, Rudy Omri, and Preston, 2016). The immigration-related executive orders and memos signed into effect in the first few months of 2017 sent a clear message that Trump intended to make good on his campaign promises, despite the obvious social harms these actions would entail for immigrants, their family members, and US society as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Critical Criminology
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317221838
ISBN (Print)9781138656192
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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