Local scammers are taking advantage of undocumented immigrants’ reluctance to report crimes.

But why are undocumented immigrants afraid to come forward in the first place?

READ MORE: ‘You’re Not Supposed to Be Afraid’: Why Legal Status Shouldn’t Deter You from Reporting a Crime

Because their fingerprints could be shared with federal immigration officers, putting them at risk for deportation. Victims who are thinking of coming forward fear they’ll be held for up to 48 hours while local police report them to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

Some say these measures, which are aimed at catching violent criminals, end up harming the victims and witnesses of crimes by making them more susceptible to scams.

Despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate that local law enforcement charge criminals with a serious offense before holding for ICE, undocumented immigrants are still wary of reporting crimes.

In this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia and Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis detail the laws reinforcing this culture of fear, and what local police are doing to establish a sense of trust with undocumented communities.

Gwyneth is an intern for Voice of San Diego.

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