Place, Policy, and Police: Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Arrests in an Era of Secure Communities

Ellen Dinsmore, University of Wisconsin-Madison

US immigration enforcement initiatives have increasingly involved state and municipal actors, creating the potential for variability across place in enforcement. This has raised concerns about the role of local politics and policing practices in governing immigrant arrest outcomes. However, little is known about how immigrant arrests vary across contexts. I combine county-level arrest data under the Secure Communities enforcement program with a nationally representative sample of 771 sheriff’s agencies from the Law Enforcement and Administrative Statistics Survey. Immigrant arrests are higher on the US-Mexico border but lower in less densely-populated areas and those with agencies that authorize collective bargaining rights. While prior participation in an enforcement program negatively predicts non-immigrant arrests, sanctuary designation and an anti-detainer policy demonstrate the same relationship for both arrest types. These findings provide a point of departure for evaluating program outcomes, while pointing to the complex outcomes that result from the increasing intersection of the US law and immigration enforcement regimes.

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Presented in Session 85: Immigration and Integration Policy