By William Hamilton
As headlines about federal policies that resulted in children being separated from their parents along the US–Mexican border shocked the nation, some 50 Bolton Hill residents gathered on a July Sunday to support and become better informed about immigrant families living in Baltimore and the state of Maryland.
Rachel Scott and Pete Ma opened their Bolton Street home for a BHCA Social Action Task Force “Party with a Purpose” highlighting the work of Esperanza Center of Catholic Charities of Maryland and the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition, organizations that support, educate, and provide legal services and family assistance for immigrants in the area. Several members of Esperanza Center’s Baltimore staff attended and spoke.
Partygoers contributed more than $3,000 in donations, which will be shared by the two organizations. Many participants signed letters to legislators demanding support for immigrant families and wrote post cards with messages of encouragement and solidarity to immigrant parents being held and separated from their children and to the incarcerated children.“We were thrilled with the way the event turned out and with the support from the community,” said Rachel.
According to information provided by Esperanza Center, roughly 15% of all Maryland residents—nearly one million adults and children—were born outside the US, with another 11% of US-born Marylanders related to at least one immigrant parent. The most common countries of origin for immigrants living in the state are El Salvador, India, China, Mexico, and Nigeria. According to the American Immigration Council, more than 40% of Maryland’s immigrant population in 2015 had a college degree. Some 250,000 immigrants in the state are undocumented.
Learn more about local efforts to support and advocate for Maryland immigrant families at the Esperanza Center and CAIR Coalition websites.