Yesterday, the Association of Baltimore-Area Grantmakers (ABAG) hosted a forum to discuss recent initiatives focused on protecting Baltimore’s immigrant and refugee communities.
OSI-Baltimore Deputy Director Tracy Brown opened the forum by discussing the Safe City Baltimore initiative, which OSI and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MIMA) launched in response to stepped up ICE immigration enforcement that threatened many local immigrants with deportation. Many of those threatened had legal claims to remain in the U.S. but little chance of winning their cases without legal representation. The Safe City initiative raised funds to pay for legal representation as well as community education.
MIMA Director Catalina Rodriguez-Lima, who is a member of OSI’s Leadership Council, spoke next, laying out the progress of Safe City Baltimore since it was launched. Cory Lazar of the Vera Institute of Justice discussed the national SAFE Network, a dozen cities and counties across the country providing publicly-funded representation for people facing deportation. Brittany DeNovellis discussed the Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project and Eric Haber talked about the work of the Newcomer Project at Baltimore City Public Schools.