A new report suggests undocumented women in the United States are dropping domestic abuse cases fearing deportation.
The report says some victims are too scared to appear in court in case they are seen by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In Tucson, the number of cases dropped is not being disclosed, but immigration attorneys say it is happening and is an issue that needs to be addressed. They say the problem stems from ICE agents making arrests in courthouses. Officials say that can deter victims from reporting crimes or witnesses from cooperating in investigations.
However, the Department of Homeland Security is making no promises that undocumented immigrants will not face possible deportation if they come forward to report they have been a victim of a crime or a witness to one. D.H.S. argues some victims and witnesses are potentially criminal immigrants who may pose a threat to the country.
A local attorney says, although the city of Tucson and local law enforcement are doing everything possible to gain the trust of undocumented immigrants, the number of women dropping domestic violence cases may be on the rise. "I would be really concerned, as I am sure people are, that language coming from Washington erodes that trust," attorney Louis Fidel said.
Meanwhile, immigration experts say they understand the fear among the immigrant community, but the cases should not the dropped fearing deportation.
Another helpful resource:
Victims of criminal activity can also take advantage of The U nonimmigrant status (U Visa).The program is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. The legislation is intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes. It also protects victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.