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Atlanta joins effort to help defend immigrants facing deportation

The city of Atlanta has become one of 11 cities and counties across the nation to join in the launch of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Safety and Fairness for Everyone Cities Network, a multi-jurisdiction network dedicated to providing publicly-funded representation for people facing deportation.

The City of Atlanta was selected by Vera through a competitive request for proposals process this summer.

The launch of the SAFE Cities Network coincided with the release of a new study from Vera showing that providing universal public defense dramatically increases the likelihood of indigent immigrants prevailing and returning to their families, jobs and communities. Providing legal representation to those facing deportation maintains trust in governmental institutions and supports public safety for all local residents.

Under the new SAFE Cities Network initiative, the city of Atlanta will provide funding for trained legal service providers to represent immigrants facing deportation proceedings supplemented by a catalyst grant administered by the Vera. Vera will provide technical expertise and support, including assistance in identifying and training legal service providers, providing opportunities to share best practices with other jurisdictions, and providing data collection and analyses for the purpose of evaluating the network’s impact.

The SAFE Cities Network includes:

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Atlanta, GA ;

Austin, TX;

Baltimore, MD;

Chicago, IL;

Columbus, OH;

Dane County, WI;

Oakland/Alameda County, CA;

Prince George’s County, MD;

Sacramento, CA;

San Antonio, TX; and

Santa Ana, CA.

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