On Monday, June 18, the president tweeted that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would soon begin a massive removal operation that would result in the deportation of “millions of illegal aliens.”  Immigration enforcement officials have publicly stated that they don’t have the resources to implement such a large-scale operation. Still, the tweet has renewed fears of deportation – and fear of law enforcement in general – in immigrant communities across the United States and here in Baltimore.

Catholic Charities and the Esperanza Center understand the tensions and anxieties that this kind of announcement can generate in the community, so we are holding a Know Your Rights presentation Sunday, June 23, 1:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in the Highlandtown community. We will explain how to respond if immigration authorities come to your workplace, your community, or your home. All are welcome.

Additionally, if you know of anyone concerned about their immigration status or looking to speak to an immigration attorney, they can arrange an appointment with Esperanza’s Immigration Legal Services program at 667-600-2922.

While it is unlikely that the government has the capacity to carry out large scale deportations, even one family torn apart by deportation is too many. Nearly 300,000 Marylanders reside with one or more undocumented family members, including 90,000 American-born children.  The stress and anxiety that this kind of announcement creates for communities in our state is enormous.

New Americans, including undocumented immigrants, bring tremendous value to our communities and our state. Immigrants, including those without authorization, are our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and loved ones. As Catholic Charities is driven by our commitment to recognize and honor the dignity of every individual, and our values to love, serve, teach, and work for justice, we look forward to a time when policy allows the United States to truly be a beacon of hope for those fleeing violence and desperate poverty in search of a better life.