Book Review: Policing immigrants: Local law enforcement on the front lines

Published date01 December 2017
AuthorFrancis D. Boateng
Date01 December 2017
Subject MatterBook Reviews
control variables were more strongly related to the success of control attempts than to frequency.
Contrary to their predictions, individuals with higher self-control were less likely to report admin-
istering control which Costello and Hope speculated may indicate that individuals with high self-
control avoid situations in which the need to administer control is likely to arise. Finally, the authors
found that respondents with more deviant friends were more likely to both attempt to exert control
and to be the target of control attempts by peers, supporting routine activities and opportunity-
based explanations.
In the final chapter, Costello and Hope discuss their findings in the broader context of the field,
emphasizing evidence supportive of social control theories and opportunity effects. They note that
the respondents rarely mentioned anything about morals in their responses and they argue that they
saw little evidence consistent with differential association or learning theories, though they cannot
‘‘ ...make any general conclusions about peer influence that might occur over time’’ (p. 87). The
primary critique of the book is that the authors are guilty of the same offense that they appropriately
criticize previous researchers of committing. Costello and Hope argue that explanations of learning
and norm transference often lack measures of attitudes or normative beliefs and though, the authors
themselves did not include such measures, they suggest that their ‘‘results are very damaging to
aspects of cultural deviance and learning theories.’’ While their results do not necessarily support
learning explanations, they do not directly refute them. Learning is not always a conscious, recog-
nized process that would be easily reported by respondents through direct questioning. Further, it is
important to note that their explanations are focused on data collected from a relatively nondeviant
college population, thus future research should include younger adolescents and noncollege peers.
Despite these critiques, Costello and Hope make a very important contribution to the study of
peer influence by turning attention to peers as potential mechanisms of positive social control and
prevention. In addition, they remind us that sometimes different questions need to be asked (e.g.,
what actually happens in the context of peer interaction and influence). Future research should
consider the possibility that repeated exposure to situational peer pressure, as described by
Costello and Hope, may lead to changes in perceived norms and attitudes toward either prosocial
or deviant behavior.
Provine, M. D., Varsanyi, W. M., Lewis, G. P., & Decker, H. S. (2016).
Policing immigrants: Local law enforcement on the front lines. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. vii, 199 pp.
$25.00, ISBN 9780226363189.
Reviewed by: Francis D. Boateng, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016817696134
Immigration enforcement in the United States has been at the center of public debate for decades,
with many people questioning the role of local police departments in such enforcement. Until
recently, local law enforcement agencies’ involvement in immigration issues have been limited to
providing supports to the federal government, who possessed absolute control over how to deal with
illegal immigrants. The text Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines adopts
an analytical approach to provide succinct discussion about the role of local law enforcement
agencies in enforcing immigration laws. It is important to mention that police departments in some
states currently go beyond the supportive role to actively enforcing immigration laws as their
primary responsibility. The controversial Arizona law that extends police powers to inquire about
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