AILA Presents John C. Keller with the 2018 Arthur C. Helton Memorial Human Rights Award

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will recognize John C. Keller with the 2018 Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award for outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights this week during AILA’s Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Mr. Keller grew up on a Minnesota dairy farm, the youngest of eight siblings. Through their hard work and example, his parents instilled a passion for social justice, which grew as he spent time working with a human rights group in Peru during his college years. After graduating Cum Laude from Hamline School of Law, he started as a law clerk with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM), where he now serves as Executive Director.

The mission of the ILCM is to enhance opportunities for immigrants and refugees through legal representation for low-income individuals and through education and advocacy with diverse communities. Under Mr. Keller’s leadership, ILCM has grown into Minnesota’s largest provider of immigration legal, education, and policy services. In 2017, ILCM provided legal services to over 4,200 clients from 113 countries; delivered over 200 education and advocacy presentations reaching over 9,200 people, as well as reaching others through radio and television appearances; and worked with 229 pro bono attorneys, who donated over 3,500 hours of service to ILCM clients and their families.

In an email responding to the news he would be recognized with this award, Mr. Keller wrote: “ILCM is an amazing place and this award obviously is only possible as an organizational recognition of the best colleagues anyone could hope for. These times that we are living are not the ones any of us expected or would have ever wished on even our most bitter opposition or rival. But very early on after the election I also realized that we are exactly who these times demand to serve, to resist, to educate those who’ve been misled by fear and mistruths, and to protect, empower and fight for each person, family, community and targeted religion or profile.”


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18061106.