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Mackenzie Heinrichs

  • Hosted by Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
  • Sponsored by 3M Company, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath
  • Service location Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Law school University of Minnesota Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Mackenzie provided outreach, education, and legal representation to immigrant young adults in Minnesota, focusing on responding to legal changes with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA status can have a profound effect on an undocumented person’s life, not only because it provides protection against deportation, but also because it creates many opportunities. With DACA status, a person may get a driver’s license, a social security number, and a work permit, all of which make it easier to access education and stable, higher-paying employment. Therefore, the need for free legal representation for immigrant young adults who may be eligible for DACA is significant, especially in light of the unavailability of fee waivers for DACA applications, and the intense scrutiny of immigration applications. Because of a July 16, 2021, federal court decision out of Texas, the Department of Homeland Security is no longer adjudicating initial DACA applications, so many DACA applicants have been left in limbo. Therefore, those who are eligible for DACA, and even those who currently have DACA, are in dire need of immigration legal assistance.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Mackenzie:

  • Conducted multiple presentations and CLEs on immigration-related topics to colleges and high schools in Minnesota, as well as professional organizations, including moderating a panel celebrating a decade of the DACA program.
  • Trained pro bono attorneys on how to complete both DACA renewal and Initial DACA cases—including during 3M Legal Department’s Day of Service—and actively assisted with placing DACA cases with those attorneys and mentored them.
  • Conducted screenings and intakes for potential initial DACA filers in Minnesota and helped maintain a waitlist of almost 100 people who were hoping to apply for DACA in Minnesota.
  • Worked with multiple clients to renew their DACA and helped clients apply for U visas and fight their Immigration Court cases.

Next Steps

Mackenzie will continue providing support to immigrants and immigrant young adults in Minnesota as a clinical teaching fellow at the Immigration & Human Rights Clinic at the James H. Binger Center for New Americans, University of Minnesota Law School. As a clinical teaching fellow, Mackenzie will continue to represent clients, mentor student attorneys representing asylum seekers, and teach immigration law-related courses.


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Mackenzie Heinrichs ’18 Named Equal Justice Works Fellow

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