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Karol Ruiz '14

Spearheads an initiative for immigrant youth

On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action Directive to ensure that certain immigrant youth are eligible to apply for deferred action from deportation and for work authorization permits beginning August 15, 2012. In response to this new directive, Karol Ruiz ’14 and the NJ Dream Act Coalition (NJ DAC) organized volunteers to assist the youth in completing the forms free of charge in the Paul Robeson Center of Rutgers-Newark. As a Center for Justice Scholar at Seton Hall Law School, Ruiz headed the law school community’s volunteer effort.  Joining her were alumni Sara Ben David ‘12, Kimberly Krone ‘12 and Cesar Martin Estela ‘09.

Ruiz explains, “Seton Hall Law School came out in full support, with volunteers from the Center for Social Justice, the Women's Law Forum, the National Lawyer’s Guild Chapter of Rutgers Law, as well as students from the LGBTQ Resource and Diversity Center at Rutgers. Cesar Martin Estela trained the volunteers to assist with the application process before applicants were welcomed from 11 to 5.”

The Dream Act is particularly important to the local community at Seton Hall Law School because “an estimated 40,000 youth may be eligible for Deferred Action in New Jersey alone,” according to Ruiz. She was excited by the drive’s success. As she says, “160 applicants received legal information, 40 of whom completed their DACA application.”

In particular, Ruiz added, “Professor Nessel and Professor Martin meticulously ensured that no applicant was placed at risk due to this drive. Collaboration between Seton Hall Law School students and Rutgers Law School students, as well as between private law firm attorneys and public interest attorneys was truly impressive.”

Ruiz believes this work “is testament to the honor of the legal profession and an expression of solidarity with immigrant youth that call this great country home. I was truly inspired and energized by this event. I'm grateful for the opportunity to volunteer with Seton Hall Law’s Center for Social Justice community.”  

Contributor - Caitlin Carroll '13

Learn more about the Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice.