Saturday, January 06, 2007

Need Grows To Protect Immigrants Who Seek Police Help

Another blog post focuses on a Brazilian man who talked with local police in New Jersey about an ongoing crime in the area and the police, for no apparent reason, decided to turn the man in to immigration authorities even though he was the victim, not the perpetrator, of the crime. ICE and immigration officials are continuing to push for the man's deportation, even though deporting people who need police help will only increase the danger that immigrants will be the victims of unsolved crimes.

In a New York Times article on August 27, 2006, Riki Altman and Terry Aguayo wrote "Guatemalans Are Prime Targets of Crime" after an outbreak of robberies and muggings against Guatemalans in Florida. The West Palm Beach Police Department is working hard to build the trust of Guatemalan victims to get victims to come out and report crimes and what they know. The exact trust that was destroyed in New Jersey when police and immigration officials cooperated to try to deport a Brazilian immigrant who needed the police to help him as a crime victim.

The Annapolis (MD) Capitol newspaper article on July 27, 2006 by Eric Hartley and Shantee Woodwards titled "Rash of robberies hits Hispanics in the city" points out a rise in robberies against Latinos and that advocates believe crime victims are reluctant to report the crimes because, among other reasons, concerns about their immigration status.

An Arizona Republic article on August 3, 2006 by Sarah Muench titled "Police reach out to Latinos over serial attackers" reports that with serial attackers at large in the Phoenix area, the police have to reach out to urge that people with tips should call them, can remain anonymous, and that their immigration status is of no importance to the police in trying to solve the crimes.

In Danbury, CT, Eliette Matos wrote an opinion piece on August 26, 2006 titled "Undocumented immigrants deserve to feel safe in the city" that pointed out the disturbing trend that many crime victims are too afraid to go to the police if they do not have valid immigration status.

In the Tulsa World newspaper, Tom Droege report on July 30, 2006 in an article titled "Law officers differ on approach to illegal immigration" that Tulsa police chief Dave Been refuses to get into immigration enforcement (except to cooperate with ICE roundups) because doing so would make it very difficult to solve crimes where undocumented immigrants are witnesses or victims of crimes.

The Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle's Eric Snyder printed an article on August 27, 2006 titled "Officials encourage immigrants to work with police" to report on how the Clarksville police chief visited immigrants to assure them that they should report crimes to local police and not fear deportation if they are victims.

Jamie Ward, "Migrant worker plan could be good for Lake County, advocates say," Ohio News-Herald, March 30, 2006: Painesville police chief Gary Smith said immigrants often don't call police because they are afraid that they will contact INS. The police chief said the police will not call ICE (unless the person is jailed) and that people need to know that so that, because if they are having problems, they are not going to call the police because they are afraid.

Fernando Quintero, "Immigrants 'afraid' to report crimes," Rocky Mountain News (CO), September 2, 2006: undocumented immigrants afraid to report crimes to the police for fear of being deported. One Denver City Council member believes underreporting of crimes is occuring, especially with domestic violence incidents.

Carol Denker, "Polish individuals have been beaten and threatened by gangs of kids, teens and men," PA Spirit Community Newspapers, Sept. 6, 2006: recent Polish immigrants who are victims of gang beatings and gang threats resist notifying the police when they are victims because they are afraid that they may suffer because of their immigration status.

Ben Ready, "Panel listens to local civil rights concerns," Longmont Daily Times-Call, Sept. 26, 2006: Yolanda Arredondo of the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence shelter told commissioners that various proposals to deny taxpayer-funded services to undocumented immigrants could lead to more violence against women because domestic violence victims may be too afraid that police, health clinics, or shelters could turn them over for deportation rather than protect them.

Anthony McCartney and Chris Echegaray, "Deadly Attack Might Have Targeted Mexican Workers," The Tampa Tribune (Oct. 13, 2006): an attack on October 9, 2006 killed one person and seriously injured four other Mexican laborers, stealing thousands of dollars. Activists speculate they might have targeted the immigrants because they often keep cash in their house. Blance Gonzales and Sylvia Torres of Immigrants United for Freedom point out that Mexican workers are often robbery targets because they do not call the police for fear the police will turn them in for deportation. The person killed was actually a United States citizen who originally came from Mexico.

John J. Monahan, "Romney plan for immigrants called threat to abuse victims," The Worcester Telegram & Gazette News (Dec. 6, 2006): Mary R. Lauby, the executive director of Jane Doe Inc. (the coalition against domestic violence in MA) called the initiative by Governor Romney to authorize state police to arrest undocumented immigrants "outrageous" because it would discourage domestic violence victims from contacting the police because they are normally afraid to reach out for help.

Ed Johnson, "Baby search turns to prayer, TV hope," Florida News-Press (Dec. 9, 2006): the FBI reached out to Latino media outlets to urge community involvement to help find a baby kidnapped in Fort Myers, Florida. Police are concerned that immigration issues are making Latino and Brazilian community members afraid to come forward with crucial information. Fort Myers police chief Hilton Daniels repeatedly said the police are not going to question the immigration status of witnesses. In a related story, Jerry Seper, "Smugglers terrorize illegals to pay fees," Washington Times (Dec. 13, 2006): ICE has seen an unprecedented surge in brutality by human smugglers who seek to collect payments for smuggling people. US Attorney Paul K. Charlton in Arizona told a Senate subcommittee that a growing number of human smugglers have turned to violence to extort payment from their clients.

Paul K. Charlton, US Attorney of the District of Arizona, Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittees on immigration, border security and citizenship, and terrorism, technology and homeland security (Mar. 1, 2006): "violence among smugglers has grown exponentially." "smugglers have turned to violence to extort payment from their own clients. In some instances, when a smuggled alien cannot pay the full amount, the smugglers use violence to convince the alien or family members to pay the smuggling fee. In other cases, the smugglers agree to a certain price for their services, but when the alien arrives at a drop house in the US the fee is raised dramatically, often to a price that the alien cannot afford."

Brigid Schulte, "Once More, From the Top: Transit, Please," Washington Post, page VA03 (Jan. 4, 2007): Bernard Caton, legislative director for Alexandra, Virginia said "Not only do our police have enough to do, we don't want them set up so that undocumented immigrants are afraid to call the police for fear that they'd be carted off."

Sarah N. Lynch, "Mesa reaches out to disgruntled residents," East Valley Tribune (Jan. 14, 2007): Residents who are undocumented are afraid to complain about landlord problems because they often fear deportation if they complain.


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