A Guatemalan immigrant, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and her two children might still be alive today if police had translated and took her reports against her abusive husband seriously. After coming home drunk, he stabbed all three of his family members and fled the state before being caught by police.
Undocumented immigrant Miguel Mejia-Ramos had been out with friends drinking the night of the incident. When he came home late at night, he became angry after seeing a picture of his wife with another man. He stabbed her in her sleep and because he did not have enough car seats, also murdered his two daughters ages 2 and 1. Mejia-Ramos fled the state until authorities caught up with him in Texas before he was able to reach the border. Police say they did everything they could in the case, but Deisy Garcia’s family members say police ignored her calls for help.
On two separate dates, Garcia called authorities saying her husband is abusing her. Officers came to their apartment but said they would need evidence. The second time when Garcia was assaulted, police took down a domestic-incident report in Spanish. Here Garcia wrote that she feared Mejia-Ramos would kill her and her children. Neither of the documents Garcia filled out were translated into English by either of the officers in the Domestic Violence Unit. Garcia’s mother says, “I know she contacted them and told them he kicked her and abused her, but the police told her they needed to see proof of the abuse. They told her there was no evidence and left it at that.” This case illustrates the disconnect between immigrants and law enforcement because of the language barrier and fear due to undocumented status. Garcia’s brother said, “[The police] are supposed to help us no matter who we are. My sister and her kids might still be alive if they had done their jobs.”
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