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 provides outreach, education, and legal representation to young adult immigrants 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 can 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 young adult immigrants 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.

Mackenzie is passionate about working with immigrants because of her experience working as a student director at the Detainee Rights Clinic, where she represented detained immigrants in removal proceedings, and as an attorney-advisor at the Otay Mesa Immigration Court. Mackenzie’s experiences in immigration law further solidified her commitment to expand access to legal services for immigrant communities and to advocate for the rights of those communities.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Mackenzie has:

  • Conducted screenings and intakes for potential initial DACA filers in Minnesota and helped maintain a waitlist of almost 100 people who are hoping to apply for DACA in Minnesota.
  • Trained pro bono attorneys on how to complete both DACA renewal and Initial DACA cases.
  • Established collaborative partnerships with several Twin Cities area community colleges and gave presentations to students and staff about immigration 101 and immigrant rights.
  • Worked with multiple clients to renew their DACA status.
  • Obtained Advance Parole for a DACA client who was able to return to Mexico and visit her family for the first time in almost 16 years.

Next Steps

In the next year, Mackenzie plans to:

  • Continue working with community colleges and local high schools by presenting students and staff with relevant immigration legal information and possibly providing immigration legal assistance onsite.
  • Continue working with pro bono attorneys on DACA renewal and initial cases, as well as working with pro bono volunteers on conducting Know Your Rights presentations in schools.
  • Continue working on DACA renewal and initial cases, as well as providing immigration legal support to my DACA clients such as assistance with U visas and deportation defense.


Mackenzie Heinrichs ’18 Named Equal Justice Works Fellow

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