Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA) has named John Keller, Executive
Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM), recipient of its 2011
Access to Justice Award. Keller is
a 1996 graduate of Hamline University School of Law.
award was given in recognition of the leading, statewide work ILCM provides in
immigration policy, education and the provision of legal services for the local
Latino community. The award was presented on Thursday, April 21, 2011, at the
annual meeting of the MHBA.
is a tremendous honor and I am humbled and grateful at the same time,"
Keller said. "The recognition of our work at both the state and federal
levels couldn't come at a better time as the attacks on immigrants are only
increasing in the absence of federal reform. We need all the help we can get to
call on the better angels of all leaders to return to a fact-driven dialogue
about the future and the importance of immigrants in Minnesota and nationwide.
I am so appreciative to work with the great attorneys of the Hispanic Bar to
ensure that the important social, cultural, political and economic
contributions of Minnesota's Latino community are recognized in Minnesota's
debates about immigrants."
provides high-quality legal services to low-income immigrants seeking help on a
variety of issues. Last year ILCM served over 3,300 cases reaching nearly
10,000 individuals and their families with our legal services. Our clients came
from over 95 different countries and reside in all parts of Minnesota. In
addition to its legal work, ILCM has an active education curriculum, engages in
legislative advocacy, and benefits from the work of 150 pro-bono attorneys
every year, whose expertise allows ILCM to expand its reach to clients who
otherwise would not have access to representation due to time and staff
Mara Garcia Kaplan, president of the MHBA,
made this statement about John Keller and ILCM: "For the Access to Justice
Award we evaluate candidates who have done work in the justice or court system
to make it easier for people to get due process. John Keller has been a
tireless advocate for Latinos and other immigrant populations and he and ILCM
have positively changed the lives of many Latinos in Minnesota through being at
the front and center of building strong voices and coalitions for positive
reform. Also, importantly, during the closing of Centro Legal, ILCM
immediately began talks to determine how Centro Legal's clients could be assisted
and more than 200 clients continued their cases with ILCM."