WACO, Texas – Waco Police was prompted to alert their Hispanic citizens Saturday after two morning robberies led them to believe thieves were targeting undocumented immigrants.
At around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, two men attempted to rob three Hispanic men, but they were able to outrun the thieves, avoiding being victims.
Shortly thereafter, the robbers broke into a house where they tied up six Hispanic men and robbed them of their cash and cellphones before abandoning them.
“For us, it’s upsetting, it’s angering, but it’s not a new anger,” Waco Immigrants Alliance executive director Hope Mustakim says. “It’s something that we’ve already known – is a risk involved whenever there is any group of people that is forced to hide their status or their being in a country, right, so it’s nothing new. But it is upsetting.”
Some of those living in the neighborhood do not even feel safe around their home.
“Now we have cameras, we’ve installed cameras in our home. We have a privacy fence, and do we feel safer now? Yes,” Waco Immigrants Alliance research intern Marlen Rodas says. “But do we feel like we are still a target and that we are unsafe? Yes.”
Although these crimes seem to be targeting undocumented immigrants, the Waco Police Department has been proactive in reaching out to this community. They don’t want crimes going unreported solely because of a victim’s legal status.
“I know it’s a major focus for [Police Chief Ryan Holt] to let undocumented folks know that they can call the police and that their status won’t be at risk,” says Mustakim. “It makes undocumented folks prime for targeting for exploitation and abuse and crimes.”
Waco Police has released a description of the robbers. You can read more about the robberies here.