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Contrary to natural born citizens, migrants can have a variety of legal statuses depending on how they are classified by immigration law. Together, such legal or ‘civic’ statuses constitute a system of civic stratification, from high (privileged) to low (restricted). Recent scholarship highlights the relevance of immigration law for understanding crime patterns. We analytically synthesize this literature and extend it empirically by examining its usefulness in explaining the relationship between asylum migrants’ civic statuses in The Netherlands and their chances of being registered as a crime suspect. Logistic regression analyses were conducted using a unique dataset in which comprehensive administrative data from various governmental sources were combined. Four civic status groups were compared: naturalized citizens, residence permit holders, asylum seekers in the procedure, and former asylum seekers whose stay in the country had become unauthorized. The results suggest that strain theory and more constructionist stances are required in order to understand the complex relationship between civic stratification and crime. We discuss implications for other countries.