Hamline News

John Keller ('96), honored by Hispanic Bar Association

The 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.

The 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.

"This 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."

ILCM 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 limitations.

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."