BALTIMORE— As part of ongoing efforts to keep Baltimore safe and to protect the well-being and due process of all Baltimore residents, Mayor Pugh and Open Society Institute-Baltimore announced the grantees for the Safe City Baltimore initiative at a City Hall press conference this morning.
OSI-Baltimore and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MIMA) established Safe City Baltimore in April to educate immigrant communities about their rights and to provide legal counsel for individuals with viable claims to remain in the United States and immigrants facing deportation proceedings.
While many Baltimore residents facing deportation have feasible claims to remain in the U.S., those claims will almost certainly fail without access to legal representation. In fact, the Center for Popular Democracy recently released a report “Access to Justice” highlighting that 81% of detained immigrants in Baltimore had no legal representation, while those with lawyers were 4 times more likely to get a successful case outcome.
Increasing access to legal immigration services will not only provide families access to due process and fair representation, it would also disrupt the ripple effects of deportation in our communities and the city’s economy. “Mass deportations aren’t practical and cost our community valuable resources,” said Mayor Pugh. “We lose tax revenue, local industries are disrupted, schools become crisis centers and children who are separated from their parents end up in foster care”
The Safe City Baltimore initiative is funded by Baltimore City, OSI-Baltimore, the Vera Institute of Justice, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and more than 60 other foundations and individuals. OSI-Baltimore and the city will disburse the funds to established non-profit organizations providing immigration legal services, as follows:
- Catholic Charities Esperanza Center will provide immigrants legal consultations about their rights, legal representation to access available remedies, and family safety planning.
- Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland will provide consultations and referral services at the Baltimore Immigration Court and recruit, train and coordinate pro bono attorneys.
- The University of Maryland Carey School of Law Immigration Clinic will provide representation in immigration bond hearings and develop a statewide immigrant legal defense fund.
- Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition will provide legal representation to immigrants facing deportation hearings.
“We’re so grateful to be able to partner with Mayor Pugh and the many donors who made this initiative possible,” said OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris. “We stand together in promoting fairness and the right of all Baltimore residents to due process.”