Police Trust and Domestic Violence: Evidence from Immigration Policies

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Esther Arenas-Arroyo
Date of Publication: 
October, 2019
Source Organization: 

This paper examines the effects of both intensified immigration enforcement and local sanctuary policies on self-reporting of domestic abuse among immigrant populations in the United States. The Violence Against Women Act (1994) allows immigrant women to petition for adjustment of their immigration status if they are the victims of domestic abuse at the hands of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident partner. Using data on these petitions, the authors determine that an increase in immigration enforcement curbs self-reporting under VAWA. Their analysis indicates that this is true both in the case of increased police-based enforcement—such as 287(g) agreements between ICE and local law enforcement and the Secure Communities information sharing program—and employment-based enforcement in which employers are required to determine the work eligibility of potential employees. At the same time, the authors determine that sanctuary policies, which limit local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with ICE, boost self-reporting under VAWA. In order to determine whether shifts in self-petitions are due to changes in rates of victimization or changes in rates of reporting, they look at domestic homicide data and conclude that it is rates of reporting that have changed rather than rates of abuse. The authors believe that this study is the first to systematically present empirical evidence on the relationship of immigration policy and the reporting of domestic abuse by migrant women. Overall, their results support the conclusion, derived from both qualitative and quantitative evidence, that people are more likely to report a crime when they trust the police. (Karen D. Caplan, Ph.D., Rutgers University -- Newark)

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Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Arenas-Arroyo. E. (2019). Police trust and domestic violence: Evidence from immigration policies. Retrieved from https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/12721/police-trust-and-domestic-violence-evidence-from-immigration-policies