Students in the Latino/a Law Students Association (LLSA) and the Immigration Law and Policy Association received the Outstanding Student Award from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), as a part of the university’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month Commemoration on February 4.
Last fall, Maryland Carey Law students in these groups provided assistance to children in the U.S. illegally who were appearing before the Baltimore Immigration Court. The students’ efforts promoted awareness of the problems faced by unaccompanied foreign-born minors during the immigration process.
“Providing reliable information to these youngsters is important,” said Eric Suarez 2L, president of LLSA. “It is really easy for people to take advantage of them.”
“We were approached by Professor Maureen Sweeney, director of the Immigration Clinic, who had been working with other community organizations on this issue. We were more than happy to assist in any way possible,” Suarez said.
“Eric and the other students jumped at the chance to help reassure the families and guide them toward legal assistance, said Professor Sweeney. “As they’ve told me, they really believe that ‘These are our kids’.”
The students provided information to children and their families about pro bono and low bono resources that can be used to address immigration and guardianship issues, observed immigration hearings, and helped the children manage hearing schedules.
“We are extraordinarily proud of our students for helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community at a time of real need,” said Maryland Carey Law Dean Donald Tobin. “And, we are delighted that the university has recognized their public service.”
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Recognition Awards, of which the Outstanding Student Award is a part, are presented for individual and/or group achievements in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness. Each year, UMB schools and administrative units are asked to nominate individuals or groups that have played a leadership role or been an integral part of the diversity effort at the University. The recipients serve as models of the ideals epitomized by the life and work of Dr. King.