A Bay Area tattoo removal clinic has been booming recently for an unexpected reason: the fear of deportation.
The fear of possibly being associated with gang members or seen as criminals has apparently prompted many to seek out the clinic’s services. Nora Ruiz of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation said people are taking up the service “for fear that they might be seen as a certain type of person or judged in any way.”
Lawyers who have consulted detainees say tattoos and old speeding tickets were the reason a father of two U.S.-born children and longtime resident was detained following a raid.
Raids are common during the current crackdown by ICE agents on undocumented immigrants, whether or not they have criminal histories. Tactics such as entering courthouses in order to make arrests are being used more frequently. The Department of Justice has begun drafting plans to reassign an unspecified number of immigration judges to 12 cities across the country, including San Francisco, in order to facilitate quicker deportation hearings. It is unclear if the choice of these individuals to alter their bodies will have any effect, however.
Due to an executive order signed by Trump in January, all undocumented immigrants are effectively a priority for deportation regardless of whether they have committed violent crimes or not. This is in contrast to a rule put in place under President Barack Obama that prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants with violent or serious criminal histories.
As a result, many undocumented immigrants have been afraid to appear in court, even as victims of crimes, or do anything that would draw attention to them. Bye tattoos.