Group: 'dire' conditions at US-Canada border

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SEATTLE (AP) -- A Washington state immigrant rights group says conditions for immigrants in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties are "dire" because of expanded presence by the U.S. Border Patrol.

In a report released Tuesday, OneAmerica says collaboration between Border Patrol and local police agencies has created an environment of fear that deters immigrants from calling 911 during emergencies. The study cites the use of Border Patrol agents as translators has led to arrests of immigrants illegally in the country.

The report also says local immigrants feel they are racially profiled by agents.

Border Patrol spokesman Richard Sinks says the agency strictly prohibits "profiling on the basis of race or religion."

The study recommends that the state Legislature fund translators or that Border Patrol appropriate some of its budget to train independent translators.