Building trust between law enforcement and the communities they protect is critical to creating a safe environment for all residents. When immigrants and refugees do not trust or believe they are afforded the protections of law enforcement, not only do local crimes go unreported, but new arrivals never fully feel a part of their community.
Fostering positive relationships, breaking preconceived notions, and clarifying the duties and responsibilities of local law enforcement is imperative for increasing overall public safety. Which is why the City of Atlanta is committed to expanding services and protections for our immigrants and refugees by taking steps such as increasing multicultural and multilingual support within the Atlanta Police Department and addressing immigration services assistance fraud (such as notario fraud) to earn the trust of our new arrivals and create a safer community for all Atlantans.
- Increasing Multilingual Support Within the Atlanta Police Department
- Combating Immigration Services Assistance Fraud
- Code Enforcement
The Multicultural Liaison Unit in the Atlanta Police Department was launched during Atlanta’s Welcoming Week. The creation of this unit was one of the Public Safety recommendations presented to Mayor Reed by the Welcoming Atlanta Working Group in 2014. Officers speaking ten different languages were recruited to be a part of the unit. Languages spoken by the unit include: English, Spanish, Thai, Korean, Haitian Creole, French, Tagalog (Filipino), Patwa, Italian, and Portuguese.
The unit will work in a close partnership with Welcoming Atlanta and they will meet bi-monthly to discuss goals, strategies, and outcomes. If you would like to request assistance from the multicultural liaison unit please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 546-6831.
The Atlanta Police Department, in collaboration with the Multicultural Liaison Unit, has released a publication with basic information on the rights and responsibilities of citizens and particularly of motor vehicle drivers, and how they should interact with police officers when pulled over for a traffic stop. The pamphlet has been published initially in English and Spanish, and it will be translated into other languages in the future.
Notario fraud is defined by the American Bar Association as “individuals who represent themselves as qualified to offer legal advice or services concerning immigration or other matters of law, who have no such qualification, and routinely victimize members of immigrant communities”. The work performed by these individuals has no legal validity and often creates a series of problems for the people who use their services. Missed deadlines, filing of incorrect forms, and making false claims with the government are some of the consequences of using non-legal representation for immigration procedures.
The City of Atlanta is currently working on legislation to investigate and prosecutre individuals who prey on immigrants.
For more information on “notario fraud”, please visit the American Bar Association’s website.