For many of us, the last few years have been a cascade of questionable and divisive decisions by the Trump Administration. For our immigrants and refugees who reside in Prince George's County, whether they are from Africa, Central America or the Middle East, they live each day with a different sense of foreboding and of anxiety that they or someone they love may be detained.
Please join me on Monday, July 8, at 7:00 p.m. at the Center for Educational Partnership, 6200 Sheridan Street, Riverdale, for a "Know Your Rights" training especially tailored for allies, advocates, educators, and service providers. This is an opportunity for you to learn how you can support vulnerable members of our community.
|In February 2017 I hosted a community conversation on immigrants and refugees; the outpouring of interest and support was incredible.
Since 2017, Prince George's County has been working with the
to provide legal representation to immigrant residents of the County who have been detained and face deportation. This effort begun as part of the
SAFE (Safety and Fairness for Everyone) Cities Network, a project of the Vera Institute of Justice, which brings together cities and counties in eight jurisdictions across the country that are committed to keeping their communities safe through improved due process and access to legal representation for detained immigrants. Learn more.
Between December 2017 and April 2019, the program provided legal consultations to 177 detained Prince George's County residents through CAIR Coalition. The program also educated at least 600 detained people about legal services through Know Your Rights presentations. Additionally, the program was able to offer representation to 38 detained Prince George's County residents. Three out of every four cases have a successful outcome at trial.
Under the program, CAIR Coalition attorneys secured an emergency stay of removal for a long-term resident of the county, who is a grandmother to six U.S. citizen children. Additional victories include winning lawful status for a young man who was the primary caretaker for his father who has a severe disability and a grant of asylum for a father and his two young children.
ISLA clients have lived in the U.S. for an average of 11.5 years, with some residing as many as 24 years in the U.S. I'm incredibly proud that the Prince George's County Council increased funding for this effort this year.
In December 2016, I was proud to join with my colleagues to pass CR-02-2017, a resolution which emphasized that the Prince George's County Council strongly opposes any action that may undermine the trust created in our community and threaten public safety.
As we move forward as a County and nation, I share with you again the words I spoke last December when the Council and County Executive were sworn in...
We are living in critical times in our nation-fragmented by acts of hate and violence, and a lack of civility, and too often divided by racism, discrimination, and intolerance. Prince Georgians know there is no hope in the embrace of deep divisions. But, the same diversity we treasure as our strength in Prince George's County, some inexplicably see as a threat. In our community, we know it is our collective experiences and perspectives shared through many lenses that allow us to see clearly and continue to progress.
Our immigrant community--from India, the Philippines, and Syria; from Cameroon, Nigeria, and Liberia; from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to El Salvador and Mexico, and from all nations in between --are an integral part of the fabric of American and of Prince George's County. No matter where you came from; no matter your native language; your race or ethnicity; where you were born; or when you arrived here, this is your County; and we welcome your immeasurable contributions to our collective community story.
Only together can the gifts of Prince George's County be unwrapped by all.
Only together, can we strengthen our County, our communities, our families, and realize our fullest potential.
Only together, as one County, can our tapestry, our story, and our County shine bright.
I hope to see you on Monday, July 8, at 7:00 p.m. for the Know Your Rights training. All are welcome, so please spread the word.