In January, 2017 President Trump issued an executive order that resulted in stepped-up enforcement by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, including a series of raids in the Baltimore region that threatened the due process rights of local immigrants. In response, Open Society Institute worked with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, led by OSI Leadership Council member Catalina Rodriguez-Lima, to create the Safe City Baltimore Immigrant Education and Defense Fund.
The Safe City Baltimore initiative, with support from Open Society (including support it raised from other foundations and over 60 individuals), Baltimore City, and the Vera Institute of Justice, provided funding for the following organizations working to educate immigrant communities about their rights and to provide legal counsel for individuals with viable claims to remain in the United States and for immigrants facing deportation proceedings. The Safe City Baltimore initiative continues through 2019.
2017 Safe City Baltimore Grants
Associated Catholic Charities
$282,000 over two years to provide legal consultations, legal representation and family safety planning for immigrants through Esperanza Center’s Immigration Legal Services Program
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
$86,000 over two years to provide information and referral services at the Baltimore Immigration Court and to recruit and coordinate pro bono attorneys to provide representation in immigration matters
University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc.
$50,000 over two years to enable the University of Maryland Carey School of Law Immigration Clinic to provide representation in immigration bond hearings and to develop a statewide immigrant legal defense fund