XII. Immigrants Response to Increased Deportation without Recent Serious Crime Print E-mail


Declines in Crime Reporting



Declines in crime reporting have been recorded in Latino communities.1 In the first three months of 2017, sexual assault complaints dropped 25 percent among the Los Angeles Latino population, compared to the same period last year, and domestic violence reports fell 10 percent. In Houston, over the same time period, reports of rape in the Latino community decreased 43 percent when compared to the same time in 2016; meanwhile, reports of rape increased 8 percent in the non-Latino community. In Denver, crime reporting by Latinos fell 12 percent, even as it rose 3.6 percent among non-Latinos.


Declines in willingness to report crimes is due to fear that doing so will reveal to ICE the unauthorized status of complainants and witnesses or will expose relatives who are unauthorized. Recent courthouse arrests by ICE have amplified these fears. The chief justices of California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington, as well as Denver city officials, have requested that ICE agents refrain from making arrests in courthouses whenever possible. However, ICE has continued to make courthouse arrests in these states.1


1. Chishti, Muzaffar and Bolter, Jessica.  "The Trump Administration at Six Months:  A Sea Change in Immigration Enforcement."  Migration Policy Institute, Police Beat, July 19, 2017.






Immigrant Dropoff in Use of Services

Service providers for survivors of domestic violence have reported similar dropoffs in Latinos seeking services.
A survey of 700 domestic violence advocates and legal service providers1 across the country by the Tahirih Justice Center found that 62 percent noticed clients expressing more concern about immigration status. One domestic violence shelter in Orange County, California reported that while in the past about half of its 70 new monthly cases came from unauthorized immigrants, the number had fallen to fewer than five per month in the first three months of the Trump administration.

Unauthorized immigrants have also been less likely to enroll in government benefit programs.2 All over the U.S., unauthorized immigrants called the offices of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to ask that their names be removed from the program's records. Many offices had a big drop in caseloads, and in communities with a high proportion of immigrants, some clinics were almost empty.


1.  Rhodan, Maya.  "Deportation Fears Silence Some Domestic Violence Victims."  Time, 5/2017.

2.  Reddin, Molly.  "Undocumented immigrants avoid vital nutrition services for fear of deportation."  The Guardian, Tuesday, May 9, 2017.







What Has Been the Effect of State Laws Discouraging

Undocumented Immigrant Employment or

Requiring Local Police to Assist ICE in Deportation?


States which passed these laws such as Arizona and Georgia experienced substantial economic decline. Immigrants left the states in droves to avoid deportation. A Policy Analysis by the Cato Institute called “The Economic Case against Arizona’s Immigration Laws,” described the serious damage Arizona caused to its economy.1

The Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA or employer sanctions) was the first such law, and it tried to regulate unauthorized workers out of the market.  Its chief tool is E-Verify. Business formation rate declined 14.3 percent in the third quarter of 2007 in Arizona because businesses feared that if they made two mistakes, they would be forced out of business. Some undocumented immigrants were forced out of jobs, which then mostly remained unfilled.  In the farming industry, crop production employment dropped by 15.6 percent in the first 4 years after LAWA was passed.2

SB 1070, which enabled local police to enforce Arizona’s immigration laws outside of the workplace, forced about 200,000 people out of Arizona, most of them from the Phoenix area. It resulted in a drop of 51.2% in the housing price index over 4 years, caused a big decline in the city's population, hobbled the labor market, and exacerbated the Great Recession in Arizona.1

For the state as a whole, Moody’s Analytics found that the departure of illegal immigrants had reduced Arizona’s gross domestic product by an average of 2% a year between 2008 and 2015. As a result, total employment in the state was 2.5% lower, on average, than it otherwise would have been during these years.3

Georgia's immigration enforcement law, HB 87, made it difficult for businesses to hire workers, punished those who employ or harbor illegal immigrants, and gave the police authority to demand immigration documentation. The resulting big drop in farm workers triggered an estimated $140 million in agricultural losses as crops rotted in the fields. Agriculture is only one of the sectors in which undocumented workers are employed, less than 4.5% nationwide. The PEW Hispanic Center estimated 425,000 illegal immigrants lived in Georgia, 7th highest in the nation. The numbers are now reduced, but the state paid a heavy price.4

Benjamin Powell, Associate Professor of Economics at Suffolk University, stated, "Georgia’s immigration law is a blunt instrument that is doing unnecessary harm to immigrants and native Georgians alike, making everyone poorer. Both Georgia, and any other state that’s considering a similar law, should reconsider."5


1.  Nowrasteh, Alex.  "The Economic Case Against Arizona's Immigration Laws," Policy Analysis No. 709.  Cato Institute.  September 12, 2012.

2.  Nowrasteh, Alex.  “Arizona-Style Immigration Laws Hurt the Economy.”  Forbes, October 12, 2012.

3.  Davis, Bob.  The Thorny Economics of Illegal Immigration.  Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2016.

4.  CAP Immigration Team and Michael D. Nicholson.  "The Facts on Immigration Today:  2017 Edition."  April 20, 2017.

4.  Powell, Benjamin.  "The Law of Unintended Consequences:  Georgia's Law Backfires."  Forbes, May 17, 2012.





Surge in Demand for Attorneys

Immigrants' concerns about being deported are also reflected in an increased demand for attorneys. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), for example, has seen its new clients surge from 20 per day before Trump took office to 100 in recent months. The University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center caseload doubled during the 2016-17 academic year65 from a year earlier.


1. Watanabe, Teresa.  "Demand for UC immigrant student legal services soars as Trump policies sow uncertainty."  Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2017.








Business Leaders Concerned Fewer Immigrants Are Arriving in MN

Though MN has not had many ICE Officers, still MN immigrants, business leaders, demographers, and economists are worried about the state.  An article by Dave Beal in the August Twin Cities Business is "The Real Immigration Crisis:  The Danger to MN’s economy isn’t a flood of immigrants - it’s when they stop arriving.”1 It opens with, "A dramatic shift in global migration patterns is unfolding this year on Minnesota’s border with Canada. Refugees, mainly from African countries, motivated in part by fears they are not welcome in the United States, have been moving from and through Minnesota to seek asylum in Canada.” The number of asylum seekers in Canada has tripled in the last month.2 After opening Olympic Stadium in Montreal to asylum seekers., Canadian officials this week reopened a shuttered hospital to accommodate the growing numbers and deployed the military to construct a tent city.3

At the same time, with the change in government policy, the number of new refugees arriving in MN has declined sharply. In March and April, arrivals fell to 164 from 559 a year earlier. Susan Brower, the state demographer, worries that the rising anti-immigration sentiment will lead to a growing labor shortage in MN.  The Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition has been pressing for an overhaul of the immigration system.  Bill Blazar, a Coalition leader and executive in the Chamber of Commerce, describes immigrants as “generally, really good people who came here for good reasons and work hard. Their lives have now become uncertain to the point of being inhumane.”4


1.  Beal, David.  "The Real Immigration Crisis:  The Danger to MN’s economy isn’t a flood of immigrants - it’s when they stop arriving.”  
Twin Cities Business, August, 2017.

2.  “Asylum Seekers at the Canadian Border Triple in Number.”  Immigration News, August 18, 2017.

3.  Charles, Jacqueline.  “For Haitians in U.S., the road to refuge runs straight to Canada - and arrest.”  Miami Herald, August 12, 2017.  

4.  Beal, David.  "The Real Immigration Crisis:  The Danger to MN’s economy isn’t a flood of immigrants - it’s when they stop arriving.”  
Twin Cities Business, August, 2017.









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