Journal Article

Latino Migrant Victims of Crime: Safe Reporting for Victims With Irregular Status in the United States and Spain

Published 3 March 2021 / By Nicola Delvino & Markus González Beilfuss

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Introduction

In both the United States and Spain, Latino migrants are disproportionately exposed to crime victimization. Among them, those with irregular status are scared to report crime to the police out of the fear of deportation. This article explores how national legislation and local policies in the United States and Spain regulate the possibility of irregular migrants who are victims of crime to interact with the police. We analyze the interplay between immigration and criminal legislation and enforcement structures in the United States and Spain to define whether deportation is a real or perceived risk for victims reporting crime. We identify opportunities for “safe reporting of crime,” and we look at how policy responses in the two countries compare. We find that national legislation in both countries introduced measures aimed at allowing safe interactions between migrant victims and the police. Additionally, in the United States, cities also adopted local “safe reporting” policies. However, despite these existing measures, opportunities for safe reporting remain limited in both countries. We conclude with a discussion on lessons that legislators in the United States and Spain could learn from each other to improve the reporting of crime from victims with irregular status.

Read more about the Global Exchange / COMPAS project: “Safe reporting” of crime for victims and witnesses with irregular migration status in the USA and Europe

Citation

Delvino, N., & González Beilfuss, M. (2021) Latino Migrant Victims of Crime: Safe Reporting for Victims With Irregular Status in the United States and Spain, American Behavioral Scientist; https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764221996773

Keywords

Latinos, victims of crime, United States, Spain, safe reporting