Fears Over Immigration Detentions Rise
February 10, 2017
As President Trump’s executive actions begin to take shape, the border region in California is feeling the brunt of his threats. Fear and uncertainty already prevail among thousands of undocumented immigrants, and even among legal residents, who fear that the slightest mistake will lead to their losing their status as permanent residents.
“Of course we’re scared along here along the border. We see CBP [officers] stopping you before entering Mexico to question you about bringing drugs or weapons, so yes, there is fear, and it is also affecting businesses. The situation is definitely hitting us, and hitting us hard,” said San Diego citizen Virginia Jimenez while walking near the PedWest crossing in San Ysidro.
Researchers say that raids are happening in California already, and although they are keeping them low profile, they are going on, making people scared to the point of paranoia.
“It’s something we’re going to live through, unfortunately, and I don’t think that’s going to stop. I think it’s going to continue a lot in Escondido, where they are already doing low-profile raids, but it is happening here in San Diego County,” shared historian Everard Meade, who directs the University of San Diego’s Transborder Institute.
Concerns regarding more stops at checkpoints, like the ones at the border going into Mexico, as well as in North County, such as the one near Camp Pendleton and San Clemente. are well founded. Increases in agent numbers and checkpoints, according to historians, have had negative repercussions in the past, including causing an increase in crime. Whenever the sense of community is undermined by the fear of being separated from their family or potentially being deported, less people are likely to report crimes or worse, they will flee the scene of minor infractions such as running a red light or stop sign, or traffic accidents, which ends up hindering the fight against everyday crimes in California.
“If we look at the past, this bodes very badly for the social fabric. It also bodes badly for governance in a neighborhood, because if people fear calling the police, they will not call them. This creates a favorable environment for all kinds of criminals,” said Everard, “and that’s what we are reverting to, an environment of fear, and in an environment of fear, things happen that would not have happened before.”.
When Customs and Border Protection was asked about these operations, their only response was that they are working to make the country safer and to enforce its laws in an increasingly digital world, making these inspections necessary.