Illegal Immigrants in Manhattan Can Report Crimes without Fear of Deportation
DECEMBER 7, 2007
On Tuesday December 4, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced the
creation of an Immigrant Affairs Unit.
This unit will deal exclusively with problems faced by immigrants,
whether they are documented or undocumented. This unit will also prosecute
those committing crimes against immigrants.
Immigrants will be able to report crimes they are victims of or witness
to, without being asked about their immigration status.
District Attorney Morgenthau addressed the number of immigrant related crimes by saying that his office handles 110,000 cases a year and about one-third of them involved people who did not speak English. The Manhattan District Attorney's office has a long history of prosecuting cases involving immigrants as victims. Attorneys assigned to the new unit will work on cases involving scams and frauds perpetrated against immigrants, as well as construction industry safety and employment practices. District Attorney Morgenthau gave examples of these types of cases, like undocumented day laborers working for one-fourth to one-third the pay of a union worker.
The Immigrant Affairs Unit will be based in the Special Protections Bureau and will be lead by Assistant District Attorney Daysi Mejia. Attorneys involved in the unit will also engage in outreach to aid victims and witnesses who fear cooperating with the police because of their immigration status.The Intake Unit will have personnel who speak many different languages and will be available to take complaints in person or over the phone. The telephone number for the Intake Unit is 212-355-8900.