Nick provides legal assistance and advocacy support to immigrant communities to draw attention to and challenge police misconduct and illegal targeting of immigrants.
The immigrant population in MD has increased dramatically over the last decade, and the capacity and geographic reach of current immigrant advocates cannot meet the need in the state. State and local police lack the authority, yet engage in immigration enforcement for which they are neither trained nor qualified. These unlawful actions give rise to unchecked discriminatory police practices and racial profiling, and undermine the public safety of communities that police are intended to serve.
In the first year, Nick has:
- Challenged the 287(g) program in Maryland, a partnership program between local law enforcement and ICE. Nick filed a lawsuit against ICE to obtain more information about who in the immigrant community the Harford County Sheriff’s Office is targeting. He also sent a demand letter threatening legal action in Frederick County to prevent the Sheriff from prohibiting video recording at this year’s 287(g) Steering Committee Meeting. ICE and the Sheriff acceded to the demand and rescinded the prohibition.
- Facilitated the formation of new immigrant service organizations, including the Resources for Immigrant Support and Empowerment (RISE) Coalition in western Maryland. The RISE Coalition has hosted legal clinics, rallies against family separation and 287(g), and an immigrant celebration day, where local groups showcased their culture through performances and food.
In the next year, Nick plans to:
- Maintain momentum against the 287(g) partnership program through litigation in Harford County, engagement with Frederick voters through the RISE Coalition and elevate the importance of the Sheriff’s race in the 2018 elections
- Conduct factual investigations of individual complaints involving police misconduct toward immigrants of color and litigate legal challenges or advocate on the individual’s behalf within the appropriate state agencies
- Continue legislative efforts at the county level to guide Maryland into adopting statewide protections for the immigrant community against local police engagement in immigration enforcement