Heightened immigration coincided with the upsurge in youth/ gang and drug-related homicide in the 1980s (and early 1990s), and these events deeply troubled many Americans to the extent that both issues are considered pressing national problems. For better or worse, concern over the roots of this urban crisis is partially directed at Latinos. Spurred to a large extent by alarm over violent crime, immigration oppo­ nents linked crime to foreign-born Latinos, and this presumed connec­ tion5 was exacerbated by at least two dramatic events: the 1980 boatlift from Mariel, Cuba, which resulted in more than 125,000 Cubans land­ ing in southern Florida; and the widely publicized movement through­ out the 1980s and early 1990s of undocumented Mexicans crossing the border into the southwestern United States. Political pundits and

immigration opponents used these developments to highlight the failure of immigration policy and to heighten public concern that the U .S.- Mexican border was “out of control.” 6 It was obvious, according to some, that many criminally inclined refugees were allowed to freely enter our country undeterred and did so with little fear of sanction.7