An undocumented immigrant in Southern California committed suicide last week over fears that he would be deported, his family says. Luis Castaneda, a 40-year-old tattoo artist, fatally shot himself Friday (Feb. 9) in the San Fernando Valley, reports Fox 11 Los Angeles.
Prior to his death, the father of two, whose nickname was “Trippy,” reportedly got into an accident and was afraid that police would uncover his immigration status.
“It’s very sad, it took me totally off guard. He was a good, good friend,” said his co-worker at a tattoo shop in Tarzana, Calif.
Castaneda came to the United States from Guatemala as a child, along with eight other kids. Like “most” people who are undocumented, he was “very scared” that he would be deported, his mother told Fox LA.
A Go Fund Me account to raise $10,000 to help Castaneda’s family.
Although the motive behind Castaneda’s suicide will never be officially known, a reverend at a church where he worshiped further confirmed that he was “terrified” of being deported, didn’t speak Spanish well, and wasn’t sure what he would do if forced to return to Guatemala.
With ongoing immigration raids around the country, undocumented immigrants live in a daily fear of being targeted for deportation.
Last October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to expand protection for undocumented employees in the workplace, which includes prohibiting employers from allowing federal immigration agents onto private business properties without a warrant.