Saturday, March 15, 2008

Continuing stream of articles on immigrants afraid to report crimes

And even more stories of immigrants afraid to report crimes to police because of the fear that they will be turned over for deportation. (Something that actually has happened in New Jersey when someone called the local police to provide key information to help the police catch some alien smugglers.)

As reported in "Pair disguised as police robbing homes" by Michael Levenson and Brian R. Ballou in the Boston Globe on March 4, 2008, a pair of men have committed over a dozen robberies in the past four months by apparently targeting undocumented immigrants, pretending to be police or from Immigration Services, and searching and stealing items in peoples homes.

Police investigators believe there are more victims who never reported the crimes because the victims were afraid of being deported. Chelsea (MA) police are working with police in Boston and Everett (MA) and trying to assure residents that police will not ask about immigration status if people report a crime. They may have a very difficult time convincing people about that because of the stories of local police for example in New Jersey actually turning crime victims over for deportation.

This is a terrible public safety problem and one solution is to adopt a policy to protect crime victims from being turned over for deportation by local police -- and to authorize judges to throw out deportation cases if the immigration authorities misguidedly try to deport someone they only found out about because the crime victim called local police. ICE counsel in Newark, NJ and an immigration judge in Newark, NJ refused to throw out that type of case and the government is defending in court a deportation order entered against the crime victim who called the local police for help.


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