Mayor, Attorney General Announce Campaign to Prevent Fraud Targeting Immigrants

Immigration protection campaign announcement

Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Attorney General Frosh Announce New Campaign to Prevent Fraud Targeting Immigrants

Be Careful. Prepare. Seek the Right Help. campaign to assist immigrants seeking relief under President Obama's immigration executive actions

BALTIMORE, Md. (February 10, 2015)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and representatives from the Mayor's Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MIMA), the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and 2-1-1 Maryland (United Way of Central Maryland) to announce the Be Careful. Prepare. Seek the Right Help. campaign. This new initiative aims to prevent fraud targeting immigrants and encourages those seeking immigration relief under President Obama's executive actions to utilize reliable and reputable services to obtain assistance.

“While we continue to support President Obama's executive actions on immigration—as well as long-lasting reform—we are also working hard to turn this policy into a better reality for thousands of hardworking people in Baltimore,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “Today's announcement is about taking concrete steps to help immigrant families who are working hard every day to live the American dream, and who are helping cities like Baltimore grow stronger.”

The campaign serves as a platform to address concerns and prepare communities for the process of immigration relief through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.

“As thousands of Maryland residents prepare to take advantage of President Obama's immigration plan, it is important to remain vigilant about the risks in this complex process,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “There are many sources of legitimate assistance for immigrants, but some businesses want to take your money and provide little in return. Know your rights, and know that a qualified attorney may be your best source of guidance.”

The campaign cautions eligible applicants to “Be Careful”—working to raise awareness of “notario” and other immigration fraud. These fraudulent actions have the potential to permanently jeopardize cases otherwise eligible for relief. Residents should be aware that requests for DACA are not open until February 18, and the process for DAPA will open in mid-May.

Applicants are also urged to “Prepare” for the application process by collecting the necessary documents and saving for application fees. In order to help residents “Seek the Right Help,” the campaign refers immigrants to qualified, reputable sources of information and assistance, including local non-profit organizations, local branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library and 211 Maryland.

"The Enoch Pratt Free Library has a long history of providing resources and education to immigrants," said Dr. Carla Hayden, chief executive officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. "For more than a century, public libraries have been a cornerstone of the American Dream, providing equal access to information of all kinds. From our Spanish storytime, Buena Casa Buena Brasa, to the resources provided by our amazing staff, Enoch Pratt will continue to welcome immigrant families to Baltimore and we want let to them know that they remain in good hands."

The Be Careful. Prepare. Seek the Right Help. campaign is the result of a collaborative effort led by MIMA, in partnership with Esperanza Center, the World Relief Baltimore Immigration Legal Clinic, the Maryland Immigration Rights Center (MIRC), Tahirih Justice Center, iAmerica, CASA de Maryland, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

This initiative is the latest effort from the Rawlings-Blake Administration in support of President Obama's executive actions on immigration. Mayor Rawlings-Blake recently joined with dozens of mayors from across the country to file an amicus brief in support of immigration relief, citing that the President's executive actions will further strengthen the city's economy by increasing tax revenues, job creation and economic activity. Currently, immigrants in Baltimore City own or rent nearly 20,000 homes, helping to revitalize struggling communities. Additionally, immigrants own 9 percent of city businesses, pumping more than $1.3 billion into the local economy.

For more information about the Be Careful. Prepare. Seek the Right Help. campaign or about the Rawlings-Blake administration's response to President Obama's executive actions on immigration, visit mayor.baltimorecity.gov/mima/immigration-action.

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