While the opinions of government officials and immigration advocates on the subject of immigration rights are widely publicized, ironically, one of the least heard voices is that of actual illegal immigrants.
A new report series from the Center for American Progress wants to change this.
Leaving out names – to protect the undocumented residents who were part of the study – the CAP found that many undocumented immigrants face a number of similar anxieties. For example, many parents are so afraid of their lack of U.S. citizenship being discovered that they will use, “surrogates,” or friends in their community who are documented to do things like pick their children up from school, or report a crime in the neighborhood. The CAP found that many of these actions showed that most immigrants wanted to be responsible residents, but were afraid to be “found out.”
These fears, however, are not overreactions. The CAP interviewed several undocumented residents living in San Diego’s North County and found that many illegal residents feel they are targeted by law enforcement because of their race. One former resident was arrested for riding his bike on the sidewalk, and was subsequently deported for this action. According to study results, more than 33 percent of individuals who had a police encounter in North County were subsequently detained, no matter what their “offense” was.
In an effort to keep communities and individuals safer, however, Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief John Morton recently stated that individuals who have been affected by and report cases of domestic violence will not be deported for coming forward, according to the Houston Chronicle.