|Published:||Aug 26, 2010 10:39 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 26, 2010 7:12 PM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A new group tells WINK the community may be at risk because undocumented immigrants are now afraid to report crimes.
It stems from a program in Collier that allows deputies to deport criminals. But, the group says it has negative consequences.
"The police is supposed to protect the community, not go after the community," said activist Felipe Matos.
Matos is originally from Brazil. He's lived undocumented here in the U.S. For ten years. He says the 287g program is unfair and causing fear in the Latino community, putting everyone at risk.
"What we have is a community that's unsafe because they're scared to report crimes," said Matos.
But, The Sheriff's Office is not aware of any study that show illegal immigrants are less likely to call police because of the program. They say the program is making citizens safer because the criminal aliens they've detained have, on average, five prior misdemeanor arrests and one prior felony arrest.
Matos says it's hard to document the fear in his community, because no one will speak up, fearing they will be deported on trumped up charges. That's why he and other activists are starting a new group called Basta 287g. Basta means enough in Spanish.
"I'm really worried about what is going on in Florida and all over the country with rage against Hispanics," said activist Rita Mendez.
But, the Sheriff's Office says anyone who is arrested in Collier, deserves it. Since 2007, The Sheriff's Office says they've flagged 2700 criminal immigrants to be detained. They also they've cut the jail population by 30%.
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