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September 16, 2009

MALDEF to honor Professor Barbara Hines with Excellence in Legal Service Award, September 18, 2009

Photo of Barbara Hines
Barbara Hines

Professor Barbara Hines, director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, will receive the 2009 Excellence in Legal Service Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF) at its 25th Annual San Antonio Awards Gala on Friday, September 18, 2009.

“MALDEF is recognizing the significant contributions of Barbara to the field of immigration civil rights and the many victories over the years which have helped the law make progress with respect to immigrants and their legal protections,” said Nina Perales, the Southwest Regional Counsel for MALDEF in San Antonio.

MALDEF is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization and hosts four annual regional awards galas in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Antonio.

“I am honored to accept this award. MALDEF has been at the forefront of the struggle to protect civil rights and immigrants’ rights for many years,” said Professor Hines, who has led the Law School’s Immigration Clinic since 1999.

“Barbara Hines’s passionate advocacy for her clients and for humane and responsible public policy in immigration is an inspiration to our students and faculty, and a great benefit to the world,” said Larry Sager, dean of the University of Texas School of Law. “We are very pleased that MALDEF is honoring Barbara for her remarkable leadership.”

Perales said Hines has had “a profound effect on the Latino community.” Her work includes cofounding the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, training the next generation of lawyers, and representing clients as an attorney in private practice.

“Many immigration lawyers do individual cases that may or may not reform the law,” Perales said. “What Barbara did through all of her work is to take cases that were precedent-setting, that advanced the rights of immigrants and advanced the protections that they enjoy. Many of her cases went up to the appeals courts and created important decisions. So it’s that body of work that we want to recognize and celebrate.”

Perales noted that Hines’s work and victory in the Hutto family detention center case are among the contributions that MALDEF is recognizing with its award. “A lot of her work has gone beyond the specific field of immigration law and has touched on the constitutional rights of everybody,” she said.

For three years, students and faculty in the Immigration Clinic at UT Law School litigated and advocated, as part of a coordinated community effort, to close the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, a former medium-security prison which housed immigrant families and children, many of whom were asylum seekers. Hines served as co-counsel in the lawsuit challenging the detention. On August 6, 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it would end family detention at the Hutto facility as part of a larger overhaul of the nation’s immigration detention system.

The MALDEF gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner and program at 7 p.m. at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The event is open to the public; information about tickets is available on the MALDEF website.

In addition to Hines, MALDEF will recognize the following honorees: Lee J. Teran, clinical professor of law, St Mary’s University, with an Excellence in Legal Service Award; Representative Rafael Anchia, Texas House of Representatives, with the Matt Garcia Public Service Award; Mary Esther and Joe J. Bernal with the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Dell Corporation with the Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

Past honorees receiving an Excellence in Legal Service Award include UT law professors Norma Cantu (2008) and Gerald Torres (2004).

Related links:

Immigration Clinic celebrates success with closure of Hutto immigration detention center

Professor Barbara Hines honored for immigration teaching and advocacy


Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or

Professor Barbara Hines, Immigration Clinic, UT Law, 512-232-1310,