President Trump’s recent crackdown on immigrants has already begun to affect the safety of the American public, and this is just the beginning. Although the immigration crackdown was intended to remove crime-committing immigrants from the U.S., it has begun to affect other types of criminal cases in numerous ways. According to a recent report published by Business Insider, by ramping up deportations- even in sanctuary cities, prosecutors across the United States say that the Trump Administration is forcing undocumented immigrants to do everything they can to avoid law enforcement. Unfortunately, the fear and distrust that has developed throughout the nation is causing these immigrants to decline to testify in criminal cases and even refuse to report crimes.
Deportation Fears Spread Throughout the U.S.
Recently cases of refusal to report or testify for criminal cases have popped up all over the country.
- In Denver, four undocumented immigrant women refused to cooperate in domestic battery cases because of their fear of deportation.
- In Austin, Texas, at least one other woman has refused to pursue a domestic violence case because of her fear of being seen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. In other areas of Texas, immigration fears led three other victims to withdraw their charges. And El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal has reported a disturbing 12 percent drop in victims seeking protective orders not long after an unauthorized immigrant was arrested at a courthouse where she was attempting to obtain a protective order.
- Authorities in Los Angeles have reported a drop of 25 percent in Latino-reported sexual assault cases and a 10 percent drop in domestic violence reports.
- Chicago, which is a sanctuary city that refuses to comply with ICE requests, has fallen under particular scrutiny, but continues to maintain that the city’s law enforcement officials must build relationships based on trust in order to solve crimes within the community.
Without witnesses and victims to come forward and report crimes or testify against offenders, charges are often dismissed. This results in violent perpetrators never having to suffer consequences for their actions, and as they go free, America’s streets become more dangerous than ever. Unfortunately, sanctuary cities throughout the country who refuse to honor ICE detainer requests continue to be shamed publicly. In the past, however, federal judges have ruled that localities are not in any way obligated to honor such requests as they are not legally binding.