Citizenship, more than race or ethnicity, is predictive of sentencing outcomes

A new study in the American Sociological Review studies the relationship between immigration, citizenship and criminal punishment and asks “several fundamental questions about how noncitizens are sanctioned and whether citizenship is a marker of stratification in U.S. courts remain unanswered.”  Here’s more from the abstract:

Are citizens treated differently than noncitizens—both legal and undocumented—in U.S. federal
criminal courts? Is the well-documented Hispanic-white sentencing disparity confounded by
citizenship status? Has the association between citizenship and sentencing remained stable
over time? And are punishment disparities contingent on the demographic context of the
court? Analysis of several years of data from U.S. federal courts indicates that citizenship status
is a salient predictor of sentencing outcomes—more powerful than race or ethnicity. Other
notable findings include the following: accounting for citizenship substantially attenuates
disparities between whites and Hispanics; the citizenship effect on sentencing has grown
stronger over time; and the effect is most pronounced in districts with growing noncitizen
populations. These findings suggest that as international migration increases, citizenship may
be an emerging and powerful axis of sociolegal inequality.

The full article is below and in Library > Sentencing Argument Resources

Citizenship and Punishment

Author: COFPD

Federal Public Defender's Office for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming