AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Immigration is beginning to impact people reporting crime around the country.
Police Departments and officials around the country say they have seen a decline in the reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence from Latinos because they are living in fear of being deported. But officials here in Amarillo say things are a little bit different in our area.
The LAPD is the latest to speak out, saying they believe a decline in the number of Latinos reporting sexual assault and domestic violence is due to fear of being deported.
But Amarillo Police say the number of reports they've received has stayed pretty steady.
However Family Support Services, a local organization who cares for victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults, has seen some change.
"The fear level is so terribly high with victims who have come into the country illegally, and are here, they don't have papers," says Director of Crisis Services Kathy Tortoreo. "So it's a very difficult thing to come forward because the thought is that they're going to get in trouble for that."
FSS sees the majority of these cases, and they are not obligated by law to report them to law enforcement. And Tortoreo says their main focus is not finding out whether someone is documented, it is getting them help.
"What often times happens is that the person that is abusing them is telling them that if they report, the children will be taken away from them, they'll never see their children again and they will be deported from the country and they will never have access to those children again.," says Tortoreo.
Though FSS and APD have different jobs, officials at FSS do strongly encourage victims to make legal reports.
"I know that the Amarillo Police Department wants to know about these crimes, so it's really important that they report. And we definitely want to provide the support for that if they choose to do so."
If you are in need of help, you can call their 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 806-374-5433.