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Reporting domestic abuse won't lead to deportation for victims

Domestic violence and neglect have no place in any home. Sadly, some people put up with far more neglect and abuse than they should because they feel that they have no other options. Those individuals may include victims who are in the country illegally.

When a person fears being deported if he or she brings up a domestic violence situation, it's unlikely that the victim will turn to police. That's an issue that has to be addressed, because it does no good for a victim to remain in a potentially harmful or deadly situation.

In the first half of 2017, there has been a decrease in the number of reports of domestic violence among Latino residents in California's largest cities. That decrease appears good on paper, but professionals believe it has more to do with the fear of interacting with police and the potential for deportation than with an actual decrease in crimes.

In Los Angeles, for example, there were 3.5 percent fewer instances of spousal abuse reported in the first half of 2017 compared to 2016. That's the same as in other major cities, where decreases were also seen.

Domestic violence is already an under-reported crime, so the fact that some people feel they can't turn to the police is a serious problem. It means violent offenders are in homes and putting the lives of their families in danger. The police have one thing to say that will help. They don't ask for your immigration status if you call for help in Los Angeles County, and the same is true elsewhere. You deserve help if you're in a dangerous situation, and you can ask for it, even if you're in the United States illegally.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Fearing deportation, many domestic violence victims are steering clear of police and courts," James Queally, Oct. 09, 2017

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