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Phoenix police lieutenant: Illegal immigrants and crime

Lt. Lauri Burgett, 26-year veteran of the Phoenix Police department, spoke with Rob and Mike on the relationship between crime and immigration.

Burgett created the Home Invasion kidnapping enforcement unit, which is works with the illegal immigration community through victims, as well as suspects.

“Solving those crimes has a lot to do with the witnesses who are gonna come forward,” Burgett said. “Those are usually the neighbors, and the other people that may be reluctant to come forward if they are illegal.”

Burgett explained how officers are trained how to deal with victims who refuse to come forward about crimes because they may be illegal.

“It has a lot to do with whether or not they require material witness protection,” Burgett said. “Who can actually apply for those [witness protection], accept those and how to make sure you can establish the status of someone whether or not they have criminal histories and where you need to go to get that information.”

According to Burgett, high kidnapping rates in Phoenix are linked to smugglers who bring kidnapping victims across the border. Those that are kidnapped may also be tortured at “drop house” locations.

“When they wanted someone to comply and have a family pay, you know, double or triple the amount they had agreed upon in the first place, they’d often orture them over the phone,” Burgett said.

Burgett added that not only are smuggled immigrants kidnapped and tortured, but also relatives of people in debt to drug cartels who’ve taken over the smuggling business.

“They have prayed upon family members, you know either elderly parents, sometimes young children and they’ve become the kidnap victims,” Burgett said.

Burgett expressed that immigrants who come to the United States illegally to work should be integrated into society, because that’s their primary reason for coming to the country.

“There are people who are coming here, some of these victims I’m talking about, the smugglees, that have crossed illegally, a lot of what they’re trying to do is work,” Burgett said.”So there needs to be some reform for allowing them to do that”