Punishing Immigrants

Policy, Politics, and Injustice

276 pages

3 tables, 1 figure

October, 2012

ISBN: 9780814749036



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Charis E. Kubrin is Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine and author of many books, including Privileged Places: Race, Residence, and the Structure of Opportunity.

All books by Charis E. Kubrin

Marjorie S. Zatz is Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University and author of many books, including Images of Color, Images of Crime.

All books by Marjorie S. Zatz

Ramiro Martínez, Jr. is Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University and author of Latino Homicide: Immigration, Violence, and Community.

All books by Ramiro Martínez

Arizona’s controversial new immigration bill is just the latest of many steps in the new criminalization of immigrants. While many cite the presumed criminality of illegal aliens as an excuse for ever-harsher immigration policies, it has in fact been well-established that immigrants commit less crime, and in particular less violent crime, than the native-born and that their presence in communities is not associated with higher crime rates. Punishing Immigrants moves beyond debunking the presumed crime and immigration linkage, broadening the focus to encompass issues relevant to law and society, immigration and refugee policy, and victimization, as well as crime. The original essays in this volume uncover and identify the unanticipated and hidden consequences of immigration policies and practices here and abroad at a time when immigration to the U.S. is near an all-time high. Ultimately, Punishing Immigrants illuminates the nuanced and layered realities of immigrants’ lives, describing the varying complexities surrounding immigration, crime, law, and victimization.
Podcast: Susan Bibler Coutin, on the process and effects of deportation —Listen here.


  • Punishing Immigrants compellingly develops a new paradigm for understanding the role that punitive social control plays on marginalized immigrant populations.  The authors develop a new paradigm--one that allows us to understand how crime control has become a primary mechanism for regulating immigration and vulnerable immigrant populations.  This project brilliantly humanizes the lives of immigrant populations while rigorously addressing structural processes responsible for the breakup of families, the criminalization of children, and the dehumanization of entire populations.”

    —Victor M. Rios, author of Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys

  • "Contrary to public opinion, immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans, yet after 9/11 and in the midst of a stagnant economy, new anti-immigrant laws have emerged that have brutal consequences for unauthorized immigrants and manifold unanticipated consequences for U.S. citizens, particularly Latinos.  Punishing Immigrants brings these anticipated and unanticipated consequences to the fore, and vividly illustrates the ‘layered realities’ of immigrants’ lives at a time when social control and immigration is near an all-time high."

    —Jennifer Lee, co-author of The Diversity Paradox: Immigration and the Color Line in 21st Century America