A Bunk Bed With Striped Linen Behind Bars
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A recent report by the Police Executive Research Firm (PERF) has found that immigrants often hesitate to disclose crimes or assist in investigations, with 21% respondents of a survey that was sent to PERF members saying their biggest challenge was helping the immigrant population overcome fear and distrust toward the authorities.

The PERF has been studying immigration issues from a law enforcement perspective for several years, the latest report, named "How Law Enforcement Can Better Engage Immigrant Communities," said. The report also includes contributions from several New York agencies, Spectrum News reported.

Law enforcement officials emphasize that a good relationship between the police and the communities they serve is crucial for public safety.

Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered over 2.5 million migrants at the southern border, according to the Migration Policy Institute. As these migrants settle in communities across the country, local officials -- including police officers -- are required to consider their needs and diverse cultures.

The report explains that many immigrants come to the U.S. with negative views of law enforcement and sometimes face anti-immigrant policies in their new communities.

New York Immigration Coalition President and CEO Murad Awawdeh said, "With community safety, it is critically important, regardless of your immigration status, that you feel safe enough to go to law enforcement," Spectrum News reported.

"And sometimes, it's difficult to do so when your life may be on the line if, by chance, the law enforcement officer you're speaking to, or the agency you're speaking with, is going to call immigration enforcement on you."

Albany received hundreds of asylum seekers last year, but the police department said there was poor coordination, which left them with little time to prepare, causing a gap in services.

The Albany police also pointed out the lack of translation services and cultural competency training, making it hard to build a good relationship with the new arrivals.

The report mentioned several steps agencies were taking to better connect with immigrant communities. These include having refugee liaisons, increasing cultural awareness training, and hiring immigrant and refugee officers.

Awawdeh noted that "as long as the system remains intact, it's going to be incredibly difficult to build stronger relationships and build stronger community safety without having the policies in place that will allow people to not only survive but thrive in our great state."

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