The Probability of An Illegal Immigrant Committing a Crime In The United States

Trump has once again put The U.S. on the world stage this time at the expense of innocent children whose families are seeking asylum. The Trump administration’s justification is that:

“They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime.”

I decided to try to analyze this statement quantitatively. Indeed, one can calculate the probability that an illegal immigrant will commit a crime within The United States as follows. Let us denote crime (or criminal) by C, while denoting illegal immigrant by ii. Then, by Bayes’ theorem, we have:

$\boxed{P(C | ii) = \frac{P(ii | C) P(c)}{P(ii)}}$

It is quite easy to find data associated with the various factors in this formula. For example, one finds that

1. $P(ii |c) = 0.21$
2. $P(c) = 0.02$
3. $P(ii) = 0.037$

Putting all of this together, we find that:

$P(C|ii) = 0.1135 = 11.35 \%$

That is, the probability that an illegal immigrant will commit a crime (of any type) while in The United States is a very low 11.35%.

Therefore, Trump’s claim of “tremendous amounts of crime” being brought to The United States by illegal immigrants is incorrect.

Note that, the numerical factors used above were obtained from: