Here is a message from the Montgomery County Deportation Defense Coalition:
"Dear Immigration Advocates,
Prince George's County and Baltimore City recently joined a growing number of states, counties, and cities in allocating funds to provide legal representation for their residents who are facing deportation. An exciting and growing movement is underway to get Montgomery County, a County with a large and vital immigrant population, to do the same.
Towards that end, we are asking you to come to the first of what will be five County Executive Budget Forums this Wednesday, January 24 at 7 pm to show that County residents support the funding of deportation defense and to mark your calendars for the remaining forums. It is very important that large numbers of us show up in support. Please read on for more information:
Many people do not know that immigrants in deportation proceedings are not entitled to court-appointed counsel. This means that immigrants who cannot afford to hire an attorney must represent themselves. Per a nationwide study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, represented immigrants are 5.5 times more likely to win their case than non-represented immigrants. A study of local immigration courts in Baltimore and Virginia revealed that immigrants’ odds of staying in the United States doubled when they were represented by an attorney. Right now, Montgomery County immigrant families are being torn apart for no other reason than that they do not have a lawyer.
The MoCo Deportation Defense Coalition, comprised of representatives from a number of local activist organizations, has joined with a coalition of immigration legal service providers to advocate for the creation of a funding source so that Montgomery County residents facing deportation can have legal representation regardless of their ability to pay. These groups are working together to make sure that the County government knows of the tremendous support that exists for the creation of this fund.
We will be arranging for a speaker to address the County Executive on this issue at each of his upcoming budget forums and we would like you to be there to show your support. The plan is that when our representative takes his/her turn at the microphone, we will hold up signs and then applaud for the speaker.A list of suggested sign slogans is below; the important thing is that the County Executive and everyone else who will be watching see that we support our immigrant residents and that we believe that funding deportation defense is a critical piece of that support.
Below are the dates and locations for Wednesday's forum and the upcoming forums. Please come to as many as possible -- even if you do not live in the area where the forum is being held -- and please circulate this email far and wide. We are also attaching a flyer for further dissemination. If you are able to let us know in advance that you plan to attend a forum, please do so here: https://goo.gl/forms/HgQmTlcAzsKBdCEI2. If you are interested in being the designated speaker at one of the forums, please indicate that on the doc as well.
Suggested Sign Slogans
Keep MoCo Families Together
MoCo Values Diversity
Keep Small Business Working
MoCo Welcomes Immigrants
*For more information or to find out how you can support this movement, email Joanna Silver, Progressive Action Montgomery, at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/events/136335410368314/"