Citation: Leerkes, A., Engbersen, G, and van der Leun, J. (2012), Crime among irregular immigrants and the influence of internal border control. Crime, Law and Social Change 12 (1): 15-38
Abstract/Description: Both the number of crime suspects without legal status and the number of irregular or undocumented immigrants held in detention facilities increased substantially in the Netherlands between 1997 and 2003. In this period, the Dutch state increasingly attempted to exclude irregular immigrants from the formal labour market and public provisions. At the same time the registered crime among irregular migrants rose. The ‘marginalisation thesis’ asserts that a larger number of migrants have become involved in crime in response to a decrease in conventional life chances. Using police and administrative data, the present study takes four alternative interpretations into consideration based on: 1) reclassification of immigrant statuses by the state and redefinition of the law, 2) criminal migration and cross-border crime, 3) changes in policing, and 4) demographic changes. A combination of factors is found to have caused the rise in crime, but the marginalisation thesis still accounts for at least 28%. These findings accentuate the need for a more thorough discussion on the intended and unintended consequences of border control for immigrant crime.
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