Photo of Alison Heinen

Alison (Heinen) Siczek

  • Hosted by Beyond Legal Aid
  • Sponsored by Exelon Corporation, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations, Women's Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Alison (Ali) empowered and educated immigrant mothers by providing them holistic direct representation and developing a coalition to bring them sustained attention and assistance.

More than 50,000 Chicago households include a family member who is undocumented. Nationally, only 37 percent of all immigrants secure legal representation in their removal cases. Immigrant mothers who are in removal proceedings are at risk of being separated from their children and are often suffering the emotional consequences that come with it like anxiety, depression, and guilt. These women need access to legal counsel that will help them navigate their immigration status and provide particularized attention to legal questions resulting from their status as mothers. Ali’s project provided a new model of representation to ensure we recognize the immigrant mother’s plight.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Allison:

  • Conducted immigration intakes at community partner legal clinics for over 300 community members
  • Provided holistic representation for 50 community members in affirmative and defensive immigration applications for relief
  • Created and presented a training for community organizers on submitting requests for prosecutorial discretion
  • Participated in removal defense campaigns with activist partners seeking protection for their community members

Next Steps

Ali will continue to work at Beyond Legal Aid as a Staff Attorney. She looks forward to continuing her work and relationships with local activist and community partners.


Exelon's Inaugural Fellow to Spend Two Years Helping Immigrant Mothers

Alison Heinen, 3L, Named 2019 Equal Justice Works Fellow

My goal is to help immigrant mothers maintain the dignity that is so often stripped away in immigration detention and throughout the removal defense process.

Alison Siczek /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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