California Tattoo Removal Business Surges Amid Deportation Fears

Tatooing-Justin Sullivan:Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A California tattoo removal clinic is seeing a record number of clients since the 2016 election who worry that their tattoos will prompt immigration officials to single them out as targets for deportation.

The number of customers for the tattoo removal business has doubled as some in the Latino community in San Pablo worry that immigration agents will use their tattoos as an excuse to ask about immigration status, KPIX reported.

People normally come to the business to get tattoos removed for job interviews, or to get rid of an ex-lover’s name, but the clinic says deportation is a new reason.

“A lot of people don’t want to be a moving target or even seen as a target,” says Nora Ruiz of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation. “And for fear that they might be seen as a certain type of person or judged in any way, people want to get their tattoos removed.”

There is no evidence that those with tattoos are being singled out by immigration officials, but people with criminal backgrounds or gang ties could be at risk.

Immigrants are also canceling their food stamps and foregoing doctor visits over fears immigration agents will use the records kept with agencies or doctor’s offices to track them down and deport them.


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