South Floridians Show Distrust in Police and Treatment to Undocumented: Report

According to the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, RISEP, 61 percent of people ordered for deportation in Miami-Dade are low level offenders or not guilty of a crime.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trust for the police is decreasing in South Floridians, especially when it comes to the treatement of people in the country illegally, according to the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy.

    Abraham Pablo's brother, 22-year-old Joaquin, was arrested more than two years ago. He was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. This, after police entered his Homestead house responding to a domestic violence call. Pablo said they had the wrong house.

    From that point forward, people living in Miami-Dade illegally were on edge.

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    "Your house got burglarized? Do not call the police because if they come and find out you're not a citizen, you're probably going to be deported," Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez said.

    Martinez is one person who has a problem with "Secure Communities," an immigration enforcement program run by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The program is aimed at removing undocumented criminals who pose a danger to national security or public safety.

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    According to the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, 61 percent of people ordered for deportation in Miami-Dade County are low level offenders or not guilty of a crime.

    "We are able to beat back an Arizona style law, yet with Secure Communities, we in fact have Arizona-style law. It's not in writing, but it's in practice," Martinez said. "There is no justice in the system when before you get your day in court, you're taken out of this country."

    Cheryl Little, the Executive Director of Americans for Immigrant Justice, said the program is also throwing legal, U.S.-born children into foster care after their parents are deported. For Cheryl Little, that's the most upsetting.

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    "Let's hope we get it right," Little said. "Let's hope this week there is an announcement by the Senate that they're introducing a bill that makes sense, that allows people like Abraham's brother to begin the path to legalization. It's the right thing to do. It's the fair thing to do. It is the smart thing to do."

    The research done by RISEP is based on a year's worth of arrest records and interviews with almost 2,000 people.

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