RELEASE: Baltimore to Provide Support for Legal Representation to Immigrants in Deportation Proceedings

City of Baltimore office of the mayor

Catherine E. Pugh

City of Baltimore

250 City Hall • Baltimore, Maryland 21202 • 410-396-3835 • Fax: 410-576-9425

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Anthony McCarthy


Baltimore to Provide Support for Legal Representation to Immigrants in Deportation Proceedings




BALTIMORE, Md. — In an effort to keep the City of Baltimore safe and secure and to protect the well-being of local residents, Mayor Pugh announced today increased support to provide legal representation to immigrants facing deportation hearings. The effort is part of the Safe City Baltimore initiative launched earlier this year in partnership with Open Society Institute-Baltimore. This initiative is  driven by the belief that regardless of whether an immigrant will ultimately stay in the U.S. or leave, the fairest and most efficient way to uphold due process is to ensure legal representation for those whose future may well depend on it. 


“Our community is safest when our neighbors trust their officials and institutions and know they will be treated justly and with dignity,” said Mayor Pugh. “Providing legal representation to those facing deportation maintains trust in law enforcement and our local institutions and keeps us all safe. If our residents don’t feel safe – for example, coming forward to report crimes and cooperating with law enforcement – all of us are at more risk.”


Under the initiative, Baltimore City will provide funding for trained legal service providers to represent immigrants facing deportation proceedings. These funds will be supplemented by a catalyst grant administered by the Vera Institute of Justice [as part of the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Cities Network]. The Vera Institute is also providing Baltimore City’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs technical assistance and support, including assistance in identifying and training legal service providers, providing opportunities to share best practices with other jurisdictions, and providing data collection and research support, with an eye toward evaluation.


“The constitutional guarantee of due process applies to people residing in the U.S., including immigrants. Before we separate parents and children, before we remove someone who is a hard-working and valued member of our community, we must respect their rights,” said Oren Root, Director of the Center on Immigration and Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice. 

“At its core, providing representation to immigrants in removal proceedings is not about who deserves to stay or be deported, it is about bringing fairness to complex immigration proceedings that pit immigrants against experienced government attorneys, and tear communities apart.”


“I am proud that Baltimore is committed to upholding the American values of respecting the rights and dignity of every resident,” said Mayor Pugh. “Regardless of the position of the federal government, we will continue to stand by our decision to be a fair and safe city for all.”




About the Vera Institute of Justice:


Vera Institute of Justice is an independent nonprofit national research and policy organization working with governments to build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.


About the SAFE City Baltimore Fund


The Safe City Baltimore Fund was established on April 20, 2017 by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore in partnership with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MIMA) in response to the increase of arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the City of Baltimore. The initiative seeks to raise funds to support local efforts to educate communities about their rights, increase access to legal counsel for individuals with viable claims to remain in the United States, and provide detained defense for individuals with grounds for defense. 


Next Wednesday, November 15th, at Mayor Pugh’s weekly press conference, she will be joined by representatives from Open Society Institute-Baltimore to discuss more details about the Safe City Baltimore initiative.  


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