Group Asks DPD to Tackle Crimes Against Immigrants

Accion America says immigrants are easy targets for crime

By Susy Solis
|  Tuesday, Jan 5, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 PM CDT
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Immigrants Under Attack

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An advocacy group says criminals are targeting illegal immigrants in Pleasant Grove.

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Immigrants Under Attack

The Hispanic advocacy group Accion America is calling for help from Dallas police to combat violent crimes against immigrants.
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An advocacy group is calling on Dallas police to address concerns that criminals are targeting illegal immigrants in Pleasant Grove.

Accion America says illegal immigrants are easy targets for criminals. When they are victims of crimes, many illegal immigrants are reluctant to call police in fear of being deported.

The group is asking the Dallas Police Department to create a task force to target crime in Pleasant Grove and against immigrants in particular. It is also calling for public service announcements, an initiative to encourage people to report crime and police patrols.

"There has got to be a comprehensive campaign of education, intervention and police action, community involvement," said Carlos Quintanilla, Accion America president.

Quintanilla met Tuesday with Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle to discuss the group's concerns.

Dallas police say officers never check immigration status when victims report crimes. The department also says it already has a campaign to education Hispanics, mainly immigrants, about their rights and will continue to do so.

Accion America's appeal to Dallas police comes after a 29-year-old man was shot in a robbery outside a Pleasant Grove club. Rigoberto Diaz was robbed at gunpoint while walking out of a Tejano dance club Dec. 27. The two robbers shot him four times after he gave them his wallet and cell phone.

"He's still in the hospital. He was just released from the ICU, but we are just thankful that he is alive," said Jose Galvez, Diaz's brother-in-law.

Diaz has illegally worked in the United States for eight years, painting houses.

Quintanilla said illegal immigrants often carry large amounts of cash because they do not trust banks. When they become victims of crime, they are also reluctant to report it, he said.

"They are scared, because they feel they are going to be taken to Immigration, but, you know, a crime is a crime, and if someone did something to you -- regardless of whether you are here legally or not -- you need to report the crime," Galvez said.

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