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Border residents urged to report crimes regardless of immigration status

FOX 5 San Diego
FOX 5 San Diego
 2022-12-06

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SAN DIEGO ( Border Report ) — San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan is reaching out to immigrant and refugee populations in the region to encourage them to report crimes and cooperate with law enforcement.

Stephan and her staff have produced videos in both English and Spanish stressing that immigration status does not factor in when reporting a crime or seeking victim services.

They’ve also printed cards in English, Spanish, Farsi and Ukrainian with the same message.

These cards are being distributed by Catholic Charities and other organizations in Southern California.

“We see wage theft, labor trafficking, where they’re paid a lot less than they were promised, they’re working seven days a week without a break, we see domestic violence and child abuse,” said Stephan. “We want people to report to their local police departments, their local police department is suited for different languages, most police departments if not all of them have translator services.”

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Summer Stephan is San Diego County’s District Attorney. (Courtesy: KSWB)

Stephan said a stumbling block to getting migrants to report a crime is their lack of trust or understanding of the American legal system.

“Sometimes people come from countries where they don’t have a decent justice system, they have corruption and are afraid of their police or afraid of their prosecutors, so they don’t know the difference, here everyone is here to serve them and to make sure they are safe,” she said.

According to San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Administration, about 21.5 percent of the county’s population are immigrants, including refugees.

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office says any victim of a crime who needs assistance can call (619) 531-4041.

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A victim advocate will reportedly pick up the phone and determine how to help a caller.

Program services are provided free of charge with no legal citizenship or resident status required.

Stephan could not encourage migrants and refugees from other states to call their police departments to report a crime as the laws vary from state to state when it comes to protecting the identity of immigrants.

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