Undocumented immigrants find themselves in a precarious double bind. They may be the victims of crime or threats of crime, yet they fear going to the police, suspecting they face deportation.
The question they encounter is, how do they get information and legal assistance without putting themselves in danger of arrest? Here is a look at the circumstance surrounding such situations today in Little Rock and throughout Arkansas.
Undocumented immigrants in Arkansas live in uncertainty
The 70,000 undocumented immigrants who live in Arkansas find themselves alternately filled with hope and discouragement based upon new laws, judicial actions and the continued possibility of deportation. It is difficult for the undocumented to know if they are welcome here or not since ICE deportations in Arkansas surged during the Trump administration. On the other hand, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 746, allowing vastly expanded career options and licensing for immigrants. The bottom line is that immigrants still risk deportation and often avoid seeking legal assistance when they are crime victims.
Undocumented victims of crimes are not completely helpless or hopeless
The immigrant advocate site Simple Citizen lists several recommendations for undocumented victims of crimes:
- Remember that you still have certain human and constitutional rights even if you are not an American citizen
- Try to stay patient as the U.S. works through its immigrant quandary
- Learn where to go for accurate help
American citizens have long prided themselves by saying that the U.S. is a “nation of immigrants,” which makes the country’s current ambivalence toward the new generation of migrants contradictory and problematic. Despite any uncertainty surrounding an immigrant’s legal status, it is important to confront and report crimes you experience.