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Reporting crime a Catch-22 for illegal immigrants

Posted September 22, 2008

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— When Jose Luis Segura-Rios called authorities to report that he was the victim of a home invasion, they charged him with a crime as well.

Now, his attorney says, his case and others like it are likely to keep Latinos from reporting crimes.

Law enforcement agencies across the state are cracking down on illegal immigration, and new partnerships with federal officials are leading to more arrests.

But if illegal immigrants fear they cannot report crimes, some say they will turn into easy targets and will be unwilling witnesses.

In Segura-Rios' case, he showed Wake County investigators fake Mexican identification last week after reporting the robbery at his Knightdale home.

In the chaos at the scene, he was also struck with a deputy's baton, leaving a bruise.

"I went down, turned around, and when I tried to go down, he hit me," Segura-Rios said.

Sheriff's investigators have charged four people in the home invasion, but Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said that at the time, it was unclear if Segura-Rios was a suspect.

"The officer was doing what he had to do to make sure of the safety of the officer and other officers," Harrison said.

Harrison said he felt obligated to contact federal immigration officials two days later when Segura-Rios showed authorities what they believed to be a fake ID and because of other suspected illegal activity. No other charges have been filed, however.

"When we don't have the proper names to people that we're investigating, whether it be victims or whatever, we have to investigate to make sure we've got a case," Harrison said.

Deputies detained Segura-Rios. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained his brother on a fraud charge in another state. Only one of the four people who lived at Segura-Rios' home had proper documentation, officials said.

Segura-Rios says Latinos are fearful of law enforcement, and his attorney, Robert Nunley, says cases like this make them less likely to report crime.

"If we're interested in the big picture, I would much rather have people who are doing home invasions deported and jailed than I would someone who's working eight to 10 hours a day, four, six, seven days a week," Nunley said.

Immigration attorney Jack Pinnix says the country, overall, is struggling to find balance.

"We ought to have a national law that works, and the federal government hasn't provided us that."

Pinnix says local governments need guidance.

"It's a nationwide problem," he said. "We shouldn't have sanctuary cities or Old West cities."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • imacopicemanPWNT Sep 24, 2008


    The Fiscal Impact on 15 Federal Departments surveyed was: $346 billion in fiscal related costs in FY 2007

    Each immigrant cost taxpayers more than $9,000 per year.

    An immigrant household (2 adults, 2 children) cost taxpayers $36,000 per year.

    Legal immigrants were not separated out from illegal immigrants for the fiscal impact study, but if they had been, the fiscal cost per ILLEGAL immigrant would be even more shocking than the figures quoted above.

  • rednek Sep 23, 2008

    He became a criminal when he stepped over the USA border without a proper visa. Lawabiding CITIZENS have nothing to fear from LEO's; only CRIMINALS!

  • imacopicemanPWNT Sep 23, 2008

    TallWill, http://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/cea_immigration_062007.html

    2. Evaluating the Fiscal Benefits and Costs

    One key point is that "snapshot" views of immigration’s fiscal impact, particularly when based on analysis of households headed by immigrants, are insufficient and potentially misleading guides to immigration’s long-run fiscal impact.[10][10] Randy Capp, Everett Henderson, Jeffrey S. Passel, and Michael Fix, Civic Contributions Taxes Paid by Immigrants in the Washington, DC Metro Area, The Urban Institute, May 2006, p. 6, fn. 3 www.heritage.org/research/Immigration/sr14.cfm#_ftn20

    "Similarly, the CPS assumes all laborers work "on the books" and pay taxes owed. CPS (U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey) therefore imputes federal and state income taxes and FICA taxes based on household earnings. But most analyses assume that some 45 percent of illegal immigrants work "off the books," paying neither individual income nor FICA taxes."

  • lorivalentine1 Sep 23, 2008

    You can be treated like a criminal and still be treated like a human! THEY ARE CRIMINALS who are breaking the law by being here ilegally. They can not work with out stealing ID from some one LEGAL or working under the table, for which all the employers should pay heavily when found. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped. Too bad if you are too afraid of coming forward if something bad happens to you. Go back to your own country where you can report all your injustices legally if you do not like it here. You have options..so stop whining at your choice not to come forward. If you choose to stay here illegally and something happens to you while you are here, it is then your choice to report the crime or not.

  • piperchuck Sep 23, 2008

    chrbellm9 said:
    "Piperchuck, you are not all that bright to make such a comment! How do you think those jobs were getting done before the invasion, magic fairies? Those jobs were here long before the Hispanic invasion and good old legal Americans did them for the most part! I'm so sick of hearing that excuse by folks like you, your half the problem !!!!!!!"

    You really should READ what I wrote, versus the part of the text that was quoted, meaning SOMEONE ELSE WROTE IT, before you insult me or accuse me of making excuses for illegals.

  • piperchuck Sep 23, 2008

    "lmao..funny joke you got there....BUt the point is we need to treat illigals the way they are supposed to be treated and that is like human beings not criminals or animals. I wanna see you do all the jobs they do and the hours they work for very little money....and i bet you will not last not even one hour..lol"

    What's your point, they're still illegal. From what I understand, ICE treats them like humans as they're giving them the boot from the country. There, you got your wish. As far as working in deplorable conditions for unreasonably long hours, our country has labor laws to prevent such abuse. Having illegals here allows unethical employers to abuse employees in ways that have been outlawed. Are you proud to have illegals abused in such a manner?

  • imacopicemanPWNT Sep 23, 2008

    "Fair enough." TallWillow

    Only had time to look at one.


    "While state revenues exceed state expenditures for undocumented immigrants, local governments and hospitals experience the opposite, with an estimated difference being $928.9 million for 2005."

    -$928.9 million!! Yikes!!


  • ifcdirector Sep 23, 2008

    "we need to treat illigals the way they are supposed to be treated and that is like human beings not criminals"

    That has to be the most inane comment I have read on here all year......

  • chicana Sep 23, 2008


    lmao..funny joke you got there....BUt the point is we need to treat illigals the way they are supposed to be treated and that is like human beings not criminals or animals. I wanna see you do all the jobs they do and the hours they work for very little money....and i bet you will not last not even one hour..lol

  • saywhaaaaat Sep 23, 2008

    OOOKKKK I understand that he made a VERY BAD decision on giving a fake ID to the police officer, I mean come on why lie if you are the victim here? I just hope that nothing serious happens to someone with the same legal status as this guy for example someone getting raped, murdered, or even robbed. I just don't wish that someone like me as US citizen will have to rely on a "illegal" to go as witness because they saw what happend, but will NOT talk because of being scared of jail time theirselves. What happened to all the promises the police make to the hispanc population on "please talk when you see a crime and we will not ask for your legal status". What happend to We "Protect" and Serve? I believe that both the "illegal" and police are wrong in this situation.