Friday, August 24, 2018

To people thinking about moving to America: Shouldn't you worry about your kids ending up in prison?

Research universally shows that the offspring of immigrants are much more criminal than their parents. If I were contemplating a move to the United States and had kids, I might think twice.

America ranks number one in the world in locking up criminals. The incarceration rate is 655 inmates per 100,000 population. Even though rates have dropped a bit in recent years, on any given day, roughly 2 million adults are either in jail or prison.

Compare our imprisonment rate with that of the countries that send the most immigrants to the US each year:

Imprisonment rate for top 10 immigration countries (ranked in terms of numbers of immigrants) 

1. Mexico  165
2. India  33
3. China  118
4. Philippines  172
5. El Salvador  610
6. Vietnam  122
7. Cuba  510
8. Dominican Republic  244
9. South Korea  109
10. Guatemala  136

Only El Salvador and Cuba are even in the same universe with the US. How often do we see immigrant kids join a gang and end up with a long stretch in prison? The chances of this are much higher than back home.

Of course, the risk of becoming a criminal is much higher for some groups than others, but how many parents worry that if they move to the United States, their child could end up in prison?  I moved specifically to lower the risk of my kids getting into drugs (few white kids end up in gangs).

The bigger income you will earn in America comes with an increased risk that a child's life will be ruined by prison. Even when he gets out, he may never get a decent job for the rest of his life. Parents need to think about this.  

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