Carrollton Police Fight Fears, Unreported Crimes In Hispanic Communities

Carrollton police face continued resistance from the community activist group Carrollton Citizens' Movement.

The group is opposed to a nearly ten year agreement the city has had with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement concerning two ICE trained officers screening inmates in the city jail for immigration issues.

With rising concerns and debate around the nation about immigration issues, Carrollton police have noticed some crimes appear to be going under-reported in some communities with large Hispanic populations.

“Our District 11 has not been reporting crimes of burglaries for vehicles or residences and we are concerned,” Officer Gabriela Rodriguez said. “We want our people to report and to not be afraid to report crimes to our police. That’s what we are here for. To help them.”

"Their fears are if they call to report a crime and give their names or information we will run their status to see if they are legal here in the United States which is a mistake,” Rodriguez added. “As officers in the City of Carrollton, we do not have that information. We are not ICE We do not have access to know if they are legal or not."

Carrollton stressed to residents that the two ICE-trained officers are only working in the city jail.

“If you don’t get arrested in Carrollton, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Carrollton Police spokeswoman Jolene DeVito said. “Our officers are not going out looking for people. They are not asking for immigration status at traffic stops.“

The department is now actively trying to fight misconceptions within the community. It has a program called “UNIDOS” which is translated to “united,” Officers meet four times a year with members of the Hispanic community, some illegal residents, trying to dispel rumors and build trust.

"We are here to help you. I do not care about your residential status. I don't not care about that,” Rodriguez said. “You are the victim. I am here to help you."

Some members of the Hispanic community say family members are afraid to visit them in Carrollton.

“To have our Thanksgiving dinners or holidays and just be a small portion of the family instead of this huge reunion we no longer have that,” Evangeline Guzman said. “The ones that are undocumented or illegal are afraid to come to us here in Carrollton. They feel Dallas is their safe zone. They don’t want to cross this way.”

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