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Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) Initiative to Enhance Language Access and Legal Defense Services in Prince George’s County
Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras (D) – District 2, will announce the Legal Service Provider (LSP) selected for Prince George’s County’s Immigration Services and Language Access (ISLA) Initiative on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. during the Hispanic Heritage Conference and Celebration at the University of Maryland.
The ISLA Initiative was established by Council Member Taveras following the adoption of Council Resolution 2-2017, legislation denouncing anti-immigrant activity, racial bias and discrimination, hate speech, hate crimes and harassment in Prince George’s County. ISLA is an innovative public-private partnership between the County Council, government agencies, the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission, legal community, and various nonprofit organizations working to ensure immigrant residents do not face immigration court or the threat of deportation without legal aid.
Council Member Taveras noted the precarious position of many immigrants upon arrival to the United States and their need for legal protections.
“Many immigrants who have come to this county are refugees seeking family reunification, some are fleeing countries facing political and economic crisis, civil unrest, or the threat of violence,” said Council Member Taveras. “The constitutional guarantee of due process cannot be safeguarded when an immigrant faces the threat of deportation without the help of an attorney. The ISLA initiative will help protect their rights by providing legal defense services and support.”
The County Council approved $50,000 in FY 2018 to support translation equipment and services through the Office of Community Relations, an additional $100,000 was approved to support ISLA as a public-private partnership. Through the Human Relations Commission, Prince George’s County successfully applied for a $100,000 matching grant to fund ISLA as an innovative public-private partnership.
In Prince George’s County, 21% of residents are foreign-born and 22% speak a language other than English in the home. Over 75,000 residents are estimated to be unauthorized immigrants, with many living in the county for more than 5 years. Over 70% of the County’s immigrant population is employed and 31% are homeowners.
Council Member Taveras says the benefits of helping those that are most at risk of discrimination are universal.
“Prince Georgians benefit when landlords, businesses, and the government treat all of our residents equally,” said Council Member Taveras. “Every resident deserves the opportunity to thrive and make a positive contribution to improving our schools, neighborhoods, and commercial areas. The social and economic costs of destabilizing the family and community context of already marginalized county residents warrant the much-needed social investment proposed by this initiative.”
Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras
Saturday, September 30, 2017, 9:00 a.m.
University of Maryland
Juan Jimenez Conference Room
Adele Stamp Student Union
College Park, Maryland
All legislative powers of Prince George’s County are vested in the County Council. The County Council sits as the District Council on zoning and land use policy, and as the Board of Health to govern and guide health policy. The County Council meets as a legislative body on Tuesdays in the Council Hearing Room on the first floor of the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro. For more information on the Prince George’s County Council, please visit www.princegeorgescountymd.gov.