One of the dangerous — but inevitable — consequences of the present administration’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants is that many now are afraid to call 911 for medical or police emergencies. They fear that by drawing attention to themselves, their status could get them deported.
These fears are justified. Thus far under President Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities arrested over 41,000 individuals suspected of being undocumented immigrants. Approximately 10,800 of those rounded up were “non-criminal arrests.”
These figures indicate an uptick of 38 percent from the same time frame last year under the Obama administration policies, which exempted some undocumented immigrants from being deported.
Over 700 activists for immigrant rights and immigration attorneys participated in a survey that showed over 75 percent had clients who were too scared to dial 911 after physical or sexual assaults from strangers, acquaintances or intimate partners.
Still 43 percent more responded that clients dropped both criminal charges and civil lawsuits against their attackers to avoid the attention of immigration authorities.
“Calling 911 is part of the calculation we’re talking about,” the Policy Director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline said. “There’s . . . uncertainty and distrust about whether . . . this will make the situation worse for them.”
No one, regardless of citizenship status, should ever fear reaching out for assistance during or after an incident of domestic violence. If you find yourself in this untenable position, you don’t have to face it alone. A Maricopa County family law attorney can file for a protective order for you through the court system.
Source: Miami Herald, “Survey: Immigrants are afraid to call cops, or even an ambulance,” Glenn Garvin, May 23, 2017