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NPR report: Immigrants don’t bring higher crime rates with them to the U.S.

Legislators and pundits across the country have repeatedly drawn a causal link between the presence of immigrants - whether illegal or not - and an increase in crime. A recent story presented by National Public Radio (NPR)'s Joel Rose takes a different side: he argues that an influx of immigrants does just the opposite, actually resulting in lowered crime rates in traditionally immigrant-heavy areas.

A shining example of Rose's theory, and one featured in the article, is the neighborhood of Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York. Prior to an influx of immigrant families who brought jobs and homes to the area and invigorated the economy, Sunset Park was known for being a high-crime, dangerous area that deserved its "Gunset Park" moniker. Today that neighborhood is a thriving community made up of mostly Latin/Hispanic and Asian immigrants.

Still, though, immigration is a "hot button" issue for lawmakers across the country, some of whom have recently passed landmark in anti-immigrant legislation that could serve to disenfranchise people who came here looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Some of those laws deal specifically with the treatment of ; namely, that immigrants - even those who are in the country legally - will face harsher penalties if convicted.

The interplay of criminal defense and immigration

Immigrants facing criminal charges have a lot at stake. Their freedom, of course, is at risk and they could be facing hefty fines or court-ordered fees. The biggest thing at stake for immigrants who have been charged with a crime: their presence in the U.S. If convicted, immigrants could lose their green card or visa and face deportation back to their country of origin.

And deportation is not a last-resort possibility, held out for only those people convicted of serious or violent crimes like murder - it is "on the table" for any immigrant in America on a visa, trying to come back into the country after time away, here illegally or in the process of applying for naturalization to become a citizen.

With such serious consequences possible, it is imperative that all immigrants being investigated, have been arrested, have been charged or have already been convicted of a crime take affirmative steps to protect their rights and their status in the country. If you or a loved one is an immigrant dealing with the criminal justice system, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area to learn more about your rights and legal options you have to minimize the consequences that could follow from a conviction.

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