According to a new study, many Latinos admit they are less likely to report crimes because local police are more involved in enforcing immigration laws, which has led to an increase in deportations. Over 2,000 Latinos in major cities including, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix were surveyed over telephone for the report titled, Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement. Policy Link, an advocacy and research organization held the study.
Forty four percent of Latinos surveyed said they were less likely to contact the police in the event of a crime because they feared officers asking about immigration status. The number jumped to 70% among undocumented immigrants who were surveyed. In addition, 62% percent of Latinos believe that police stop Hispanics “very” often without a strong reason.
“Over the last four years or so, the extent of deportations has seeped into the community’s consciousness,” said Nik Theodore, the author of the study and associate professor of urban planning and policy at University of Illinois at Chicago. “Trust has been undermined and that potentially has lasting implications,” Theodore added.
A report released in January estimated that 2 million people would be deported by 2014, which is more than the total number of deportations before 1997. President Barack Obama previously addressed the issue of deportation with Telemundo. “There're still obviously going be people who get caught up in the system ... that's heartbreaking, but that's why we're pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. Obviously, if this was an issue that I could do unilaterally I would have done it a long time ago.”
The founder and CEO of Policy Link, Angela Glover Blackwell, reflected on the results, reports NBC, “If any of us are to be safe and secure, police must be able to be seen as public safety officers without being viewed as an entry point into deportation proceedings.”
Can you relate to the majority of these Latinos?