It is about a two-hour drive from Louisville to Daviess County, Kentucky. That is where a jailer recently told a local newspaper that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are increasingly making the trip to the county’s jail to pick up undocumented immigrants held there.
“It has been really busy within the past 30 to 45 days,” Sgt. Jim Wyatt said.
A spokesperson for the Hispanic Ministries for the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro said the presence of ICE agents at jails and courts is affecting the Latino community.
Chris Gutierrez said many in the community worry that any interaction with police could result in being taken into custody for deportation. That means many Hispanics are experiencing an erosion of trust in law enforcement officials, he said.
Said Gutierrez, “If undocumented immigrants are afraid to report crimes to law enforcement because they see them as immigration agents, that has an effect on public safety.”
He added that everyone — including undocumented immigrants — should be able to call 911 to report crimes without fear “that law enforcement is interested in immigration status.”
Gutierrez said that it in the midst of discussion and debate of immigration policy, too often the contributions to society of undocumented immigrants are overlooked.
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says data shows that undocumented immigrants here in Kentucky pay more than $36 million in state and local taxes annually.
Gutierrez adds, “They attend our churches, their children to go our schools, they work in our businesses. They are part of the fabric of (the) community.”
A skilled immigration law attorney can help you and your loved ones with matters involving visas, naturalization, detention, deportation and more.