Fear of Deportation Can Suppress Reporting of Crime

Communications Associate

May 18, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — All too often in immigrant communities, the fear of deportation can put already vulnerable people in an increasingly helpless position.

As Fusion reports, “domestic violence can take on a new and awful dimension—one where victims can become trapped in abusive relationships due to their undocumented status in the United States.”

The added fear of deportation can mean that the undocumented are even more afraid to come forward and report crimes. This not only keeps vulnerable people in dangerous situations, but makes community policing even more difficult.

As Sheriff Rich Stanek of Hennepin County, Minnesota, has written, “We need the cooperation of victims and witnesses in identifying and arresting people committing violent crimes — those engaging in the kind of criminal activity that creates an atmosphere and culture of violence and fear, and threatening the safety of our kids and families in our neighborhoods, schools, businesses and places of worship.”

“No one should be trapped in a dangerous and abusive situation due to their immigration status,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “And in order to best protect us all, our law enforcement agents need community members to feel comfortable coming forward to report crime and abuse. State and local law enforcement need the trust of their communities, so that they can better understand the communities they police and better protect everyone.

“We can’t enforce our way out of a broken immigration system. We need broader solutions that help our local law enforcement keep all of our community members safe.”