American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 315–330 | Cite as

Latino Immigrant Acculturation and Crime

  • Lorna L. Alvarez-Rivera
  • Matt R. Nobles
  • Kim M. Lersch


Recent debate on the future of immigration policy in the United States has spawned much discussion on social costs and consequences for immigrants, such as employment, education, health care, and most notably, crime. Although recent Latino immigrants are often portrayed as outsiders in popular media, their successful acculturation into the American way of life may present more crime-related risk rather than less. This study examines arrest records for Latinos in two southwestern American cities to determine the extent to which Latino acculturation is related to arrests and convictions for both misdemeanors and felonies after controlling for certain legal and extra-legal factors. Results indicate that acculturation is consistently and positively associated with all four crime-related outcomes in this sample. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.


Immigration Crime Arrest Acculturation Latino 



The authors are grateful to Alex Piquero for feedback on an earlier draft. A previous version of this paper was presented at the American Society of Criminology annual meeting in November 2008.


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorna L. Alvarez-Rivera
    • 1
  • Matt R. Nobles
    • 2
  • Kim M. Lersch
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal JusticeValdosta State UniversityValdostaUSA
  2. 2.College of Criminal JusticeSam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA
  3. 3.School of Public AffairsUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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