Loyola at a Glance
Law clinic encourages Latino community to aid law enforcement
September 9, 2011
|Laila Hlass, seated on left and Rebeca Zuniga-Hamlin, standing on right, at the community event in Hattiesburg.|
Two members of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at Loyola University New Orleans’ College of Law recently spoke to the immigrant community in Hattiesburg, Miss., regarding their rights in reporting crime in their neighborhood.
Laila Hlass, staff attorney, and Rebeca Zuniga-Hamlin, immigrant community outreach coordinator of the clinic, came to Hattiesburg at the request of the Hattiesburg Police Department and met with about 70 members of the local Latino community. In addition to the police department, the law clinic partnered with the Immaculate Conception Church of Laurel, Miss.; Catholic Charities of Jackson, Catholic Social and Community Services of Biloxi; El Pueblo (a nonprofit group associated with the Methodist Church in Biloxi); and the Mexican consulate.
“We organized this community outreach function after I did a training with the Hattiesburg police regarding how they can work better with the immigrant community,” said Hlaas. “We also trained them on an immigration status called ‘U Nonimmigrant Status,’ a federal law that allows victims of crimes to obtain legal immigration status if they aid law enforcement in investigations. In that training, the police expressed to us how they felt like the immigrant community did not trust them and that they'd like to reach out to them.”
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