It can appear at first glance to be good news: reports of sexual assault and domestic violence filed by the Latino population are dropping dramatically. But the bad-news side of the story is quickly apparent: police reports are dropping in frequency because of fears among immigrants that contact with law enforcement could result in detention and deportation.
San Diego’s Channel 7 reports that here in California, the drop-off is especially noteworthy in Los Angeles, where reports of sexual assaults have plummeted 25 percent and reports of domestic violence have dropped 10 percent. Other ethnic groups have not shown similar decreases, the LA police chief said.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said, “Imagine your sister, your mother, not reporting a sexual assault for fear that their family will be torn apart.”
Many observers believe the drop-off is due to President Donald Trump’s pledge to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and recent changes in immigrantion enforcement. In fact, Beck is among those who believe there is a “strong correlation” between the decline in police reports and the enhanced immigrantion enforcement efforts.
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, of the immigrant advocacy group CHIRLA, said immigrant families feel forced into choosing between justice and the possibility of deportation. “We do not want to be in a situation where victims of crimes remain silent because they fear deportation,” he said, adding that the choice is “just horrible.”
Here in San Diego, those facing detention or deportation, or having family members facing those possibilities can get legal assistance from an attorney experienced in navigating the immigrantion system.