Just weeks after Los Angeles’ police chief announced a decline in Latinos reporting rapes and domestic violence due to fears over the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, authorities revealed a similar trend in Houston.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday that his department had found rape reports by Latinos were down by 42.8 percent from last year, according to the Houston Chronicle. Violent crimes reported by Latinos were also down, by 13 percent.
The figures appeared to confirm fears among law enforcement across the country that President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown would make undocumented victims and people from mixed-status families distrustful of police for fear of being deported.
“When you see this type of data, and what looks like the beginnings of people not reporting crime, we should all be concerned,” Acevedo said during a press conference. “A person that rapes or violently attacks or robs an undocumented immigrant is somebody that is going to harm a natural born citizen or lawful resident.”
In March, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said there was a 25 percent decline in reports of rape among Latinos compared to last year.
Beck explicitly pointed to the Trump administration’s increased immigration enforcement as the likely cause for the decline in Latino victims reporting both rapes and violent crimes.
“Imagine a young woman — imagine your daughter, sister, mother, your friend — not reporting a sexual assault because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart,” Beck said in a press conference on March 21.
Those fears became a reality for one undocumented woman in El Paso, Texas, who was reportedly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February shortly after going to court to obtain a domestic violence protective order against her boyfriend.
Barbara Hines, a law professor and the former head of the immigration clinic at the University of Texas at Austin, warned that ICE arresting possible victims of domestic violence would have significant consequences.
“This is going to make immigrant women fearful of going to the authorities, and it will result in more domestic violence because women will be too afraid to seek protection,” Hines told The Huffington Post in February.