Latinas & Law Enforcement: The Impact of Fear of Deportation On Confidence in Law Enforcement and Willingness to Report Violent Crimes
Research Hypotheses: It was hypothesized that Latinas with greater fear of deportation would report: 1) less confidence that police would not use excessive force; 2) less confidence that police would treat Latinos fairly; 3) less confidence that the courts would treat Latinos fairly; and 4) a lower willingness to report a violent crime to police.
Methods: Data for this study were drawn from the 2008 Pew Hispanic Center survey of a disproportionate stratified nationally representative sample of Latino adults living in the U.S. The sample for this study consisted of 1,049 females. The mean age was 45; over 61% of the participants had a high school diploma/GED or lower; and 50.5% had an annual income of less than $30,000. Multivariate ordinal logistic regressions examined the relationship between fear of deportation (controlling for income, education, and citizenship status) and the dependent variables outlined in the research hypotheses.
Results: Controlling for income, education and citizenship status, Latina participants who had a greater fear of deportation reported significantly: 1) less confidence in law enforcement (OR=.90, p<.05); 2) less confidence that police would treat Latinos fairly (OR=.87, p<.01); 3) less confidence that the courts would treat Latinos fairly (OR=.87, p<.01); and 4) a lower willingness to report a violent crime (OR=.87, p<.01).
Conclusions & Implications: Anti-immigration policies and increased deportations may create unsafe situations for Latinas who fear deportation because they avoid reporting violent crimes such as IPV. Social work practitioners can help address this issue educating Latinas about how to protect themselves and understand their rights when interacting with police and the criminal justice system, and by advocating for immigration reform that can help improve public safety and reduce fear among Latina immigrants.