Council News

Posted on: December 1, 2017

COUNCIL ANNOUNCES START OF ISLA LEGAL DEFENSE FUND SERVICES IN PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY

Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) Initiative Begins Providing Legal Services for Local Immigrants Today

The Prince George’s County Council has announced that the Legal Service Provider (LSP) selected for Prince George’s County’s Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) Initiative, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, will begin its work in Prince George’s County today, December 1, 2017. The ISLA initiative will be coordinated and managed through the Human Relations Commission.

CAIR, which ensures equal justice for local immigrants at risk of detention and deportation through legal support and advocacy, will provide free legal services to eligible County residents who have been detained and are facing deportation.

Council Chair Davis says Council action in support of immigrants in Prince George’s County is important.

“The entire Council and the residents we serve fully embrace the strength of our County’s diversity. Immigrants, an integral part of the vibrant fabric of America and in Prince George’s County, greatly contribute to our collective community story of persistence, perseverance and faith.”

The ISLA Initiative was established as part of the approved FY 2018 County Budget (CB-55-2017), which followed the adoption of Council Resolution 2-2017, legislation introduced by Council Member Deni Taveras (D) – District 2, denouncing anti-immigrant activity, racial bias and discrimination, hate speech, hate crimes and harassment in Prince George’s County.

District 2, represented by Council Member Deni Taveras, has the highest immigrant population in Prince George’s County. Council Member Taveras says immigrant residents need this support.

“The constitutional guarantee of due process cannot be safeguarded when an immigrant faces the threat of deportation without the help of an attorney. Many immigrants have severe limitations concerning representation, such as language barriers, fear and isolation. Access to legal services often determines whether detention leads to deportation. We want to strengthen trust and reconfirm our commitment to supporting Prince George’s County’s immigrant population, the County’s safety initiatives and our shared goal of keeping families together.”

As a part of the ISLA Initiative, 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 and with support from various non-profit providers, Prince George’s County successfully applied to the Vera Institute of Justice for a $100,000 matching grant to fund ISLA legal services.

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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 http://pgccouncil.us

 

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