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Some Immigrants Are Removing Their Tattoos To Avoid Being Profiled By ICE

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There’s a lot that can go wrong with getting a tattoo. One moment you’re loving it, the next your mom is beating you with a flyswatter and telling you that you’ve ruined your life. And while there’s always a risk with getting a tattoo, one group of people, immigrants, are finding out their tattoos could end up getting them in serious trouble and potentially deported.

One San Francisco area tattoo removal facility has reportedly seen an upswing in the number of immigrants and DACA recipients looking for tattoo removals.

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These individuals fear that ICE may classify them as gang members or gang affiliated, which would make them targets for potential deportation. As Nora Ruiz of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation, which offers tattoo removal, told CBS, immigrants with tattoos feel like “moving targets” and that they “fear that they might be seen as a certain type of person or judged in anyway, people want to get their tattoos removed.”

We’ve already seen at least one immigrant stripped of his DREAMer status because of his tattoos.

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It makes sense that immigrants with former gang affiliations would want to formally sever ties with their past, but what about those who just happen to be immigrants with tattoos?

Last month, 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina was detained by ICE and had his DACA status revoked. According to The Guardian, he had a tattoo, “La Paz BCS,” written in Spanish on his forearm, which officers took as a sign of gang affiliation. Medina had no prior record and was in good standing with his DACA status. When asked by authorities about his tattoo, The Guardian reported, Medina said he “used to hang out with the Sureños in California” but “fled California to escape from the gangs.” An attorney for Medina says the tattoo actually stands for La Paz, Baja California Sur, the city where Ramirez Medina was born.

Deportation aside, having a tattoo can be an unfortunate connection to a past you’d rather forget.


Whether you have a former lover’s name tattooed on your body or a gang tattoo covering your face, there are clinics that provide services for tattoo removal. Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles has given many former gang members a second chance on life they might not otherwise have. Be sure to check out the services they provide if you’re are interested in having tattoos removed.

Check out Homeboy Industries here.

READ: Homeboy Industries Removes Tattoos For Former Gang Members And Released Prisoners

Undocumented Irish Immigrants Say They Know The Fear Of Living Under The Trump Administration

Things That Matter

Undocumented Irish Immigrants Say They Know The Fear Of Living Under The Trump Administration

When you think about the dominant narrative around undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the Irish may not be the first group of people that come to mind. But there are an estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants currently residing in the U.S. Admittedly, their struggle is different, as Shauna, an Irish immigrant, explained in a recent CNN article: “It is easier being illegal here when you’re white. It’s a bit easier to stay under the radar.”

The Irish make up one of the largest European populations in the United States, but due to the 1965 Immigration Act, legal immigration is nearly out of the question.

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The act set a limit on the number of Irish immigrants allowed in the country. As the New York Times reported in 1988, only about 10,000 immigrants were legally allowed to enter the U.S. between the years 1976 to 1985. And it hasn’t gotten any easier for hopeful Irish immigrants looking for a better life. For many, the only way to stay in the country is to overstay their visas and hope they aren’t deported. Like undocumented Latino immigrants, they are hardly able to enjoy the society to which they contribute so much of their hard work and culture.

Though they may be less likely to be profiled by ICE agents, these Irish undocumented immigrants say the face similar struggles.

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Kevin T. Houle/Flickr

Like undocumented Latino immigrants, the undocumented Irish rarely report crimes against them. They avoid going to the doctor because they don’t want to reveal their immigration status. But because they left harsh conditions, the struggles they face in the United States are worth the troubles they endure. However, because they are white, they don’t face the prejudice many Latinos face.

As NPR pointed out, in 2014, around 177,000 Mexicans were deported, while only a mere 33 Irish immigrants faced deportation. Despite the difference in treatment, the undocumented Irish live in constant fear they could be deported any day under the Trump Administration.

Shauna summed up for CNN the differences undocumented Irish and undocumented Latinos experience:

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“Even as Irish, you can feel it when you’re out. Even if it’s not directed at me and it’s at someone who is Mexican or Brazilian or something, it still affects me because I feel like I’m in the same boat, but they don’t direct it at me because I’m white.”

Whether or not immigration laws are designed to target Latinos because of their skin color is up for debate, but the reality here is that the immigration system is broken for many hard working people looking to better themselves and the societies to which they belong.

[MORE] CNN: White, Irish, and undocumented in America

READ: As ICE Targets People With Certain Kinds Of Tattoos, Immigrants Are Seeking Tattoo Removal

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