The United States may not be as safe as many residents would like to believe.
According to figures from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Office of Policy and Strategy, many undocumented immigrants fail to report a variety of crimes for fear they will be deported if they report the crimes committed against them.
With detainer laws being slapped onto nearly every service in some states, there are enough examples to understand where this fear originates. According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star, one illegal immigrant from Mexico was recently given deportation orders after an employee at the individual’s bank turned him in. With no criminal past, however, the individual is currently in the process of suing the bank.
According to New York Daily News, many individuals without immigration forms may qualify for a range of visas that would give them legal status. For example, the source points out that individuals who escaped human trafficking are eligible for a special T visa. While 5,000 of these U.S. visas are available each year, many go unassigned due to fears of being deported back to the same situation.
The Center for American Progress recently conducted a study that looks at how immigration laws have held back illegal immigrants in their daily lives, including the reporting of local crimes.
“If you’re a police officer you’re not going to get as much engagement from the immigrant community as you might otherwise because they’re afraid that if they do come forward that might affect their own status or the status of someone they love,” David Keyes, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego told NBC.