The San Diego County District Attorney’s office announced it would be conducting new outreach to immigrant and refugee populations throughout the region in an effort to encourage victims of crimes to cooperate with law enforcement.
The District Attorney’s office does not, in accordance with California law, report immigration status and does not tolerate any actions intended to interfere with or retaliate against potential crime witnesses, according to DA Summer Stephan.
“My office is committed to keeping every child, adult and senior safe from crime in San Diego County and that includes our large immigrant and refugee communities. It is understandable that if you are a refugee from another country, a documented or an undocumented immigrant, there may be uncertainty about reporting a crime to law enforcement,” said DA Stephan.
DA Stephan’s office has printed cards in English, Spanish, Farsi, and Ukrainian to encourage refugees and immigrants, whether undocumented or documented, who are victims or witnesses of a crime to report the incident to law enforcement. The County Office of Refugee and Immigrant Affairs is distributing printed cards to nonprofit organizations and other groups that provide aid and resources for immigrants.
“We want to ease the fears that people in these communities have and encourage them to contact local law enforcement and cooperate with the DA’s Office if they, a family member, or a friend become the victim of a crime. We will not ask their immigration status, which is the law in California, and we have services that can help them,” Stephan said in a statement, noting the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office are only concerned about the details of the crime, not an individual’s immigration status.
According to the County’s Health and Human Services Administration, approximately 21.5% of the country's population are immigrants, including refugees. According to local data provided to County Refugee Coordinator by local resettlement agency partners shows there were 3,715 refugee arrivals in San Diego County during the fiscal year 2021/2022 from 29 countries.
Anyone who has been a victim of a crime and needs assistance can call 619-531-4041. Program services are provided free of charge, and there is no legal citizenship requirement to receive assistance.
More about the DA’s Victim Services Division can be found here.