Undocumented Immigrants fear of being deported from The United States has made them very vulnerable to abuse, whether that is domestic violence or abusive working conditions. Immigrants are constantly forced to live in isolation and seclusion.
They are constantly, trying to live in the shadows and struggling to gain recognition from the government without putting themselves in danger of deportation. It’s the space of non-existence where its members are continuously being negotiated and alienized.
They are an “invisible” community of people in the eyes of the government and since the election of Donald Trump, and the increase in detainments by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a form to reinforce gendered racial removal program has resulted in many unreported domestic abuse especially amongst women who have to walk with many marginalized transactional identity.
According to recent reports, various cities that are considered safe havens throughout the United States have seen a significant decrease in domestic abuse reports. Immigrants both documented and undocumented are holding back on calling the police in cases of abuse or even to report a serious crime.
For instance, in Houston, where the Latino population continues to grow due to it location, and job opportunities; domestic violence reports among Latinos were 7,460 in 2016, and only 6,273 domestic violence reports from Latino were filed this year.
“Undocumented immigrants and even lawful immigrants are afraid to report crime”, Houston police chief, Art Acevedo, told the newspaper. “They’re seeing the headlines from across the country, where immigration agents are showing up at courthouses, trying to deport people”.
The sudden decrease in domestic abuse report should be further analyzed and could be traced back to the fear that many undocumented people are feeling due to the abusive Trump Administration.
IN 2015, homicide was the cause of death of 3,519 girls and women in the United States. The CDC also reported that nearly half of victims were killed by a current or former male intimate partner.
Black women followed by Latina women have the highest rates of death by homicide.
The status of an immigrant should never prevent them from seeking asylum and reporting crimes in order to seek justice.
Furthermore, 21 percent of officers said immigrant crime survivors were less likely to help in investigations when police arrived at the scene of a crime.
This proves, how distrusting undocumented immigrants are of police enforcement and anything that involved the government because they realize that they are subject to more of abuse, could be deported back to a country where they are constantly in danger and unfortunately prefer to stand domestic abuse.
Another report also said that 20 percent of undocumented immigrants were less likely to help in post-crime scene investigation and 18 percent said immigrant crime survivors were less willing to work with the prosecutor.
Undocumented people prefer to remain invisible in the eyes of the government and make a constant effort to do thus making them vulnerable to violence. Specifically, women who are often trying to survive and make ends meet in a machista community while living in a space of nonexistence, that excludes them, limits rights, restrict services, and erases personhood. Becoming largely a space of subjugation.
In the anthropological world the space of non-existence for undocumented immigrants is both imagined and real. The culture, struggles and language are all real but it’s never been legitimized by mainstream society. This non-acceptance makes it very difficult for undocumented immigrants to fully trust the system they are living in when it feels as if they are always on the hunt and labeled as criminals for simply dreaming beyond their borderlands.
Featured image via Anderson Air Force Base