At a time when the severe plight of immigrants fills newsfeeds and television broadcasts, lack of legal representation remains a barrier to many, especially children,
getting the help they need. But
Exelon, the company I am proud to work for, is determined to help.
37 percent of immigrants secure legal representation in their removal cases and there’s a dire need in the communities where Exelon operates. In Chicago,
more than 50,000 households include an undocumented family member and statewide, Illinois has the
tenth-largest detainee population in the country as of 2015. The stress of coming to a new country as immigrant children, unable to communicate or fully understand the laws surrounding their detainment and separation, is almost unimaginable.
Many of us at Exelon are parents and understand the importance of family unification, agnostic of politics or partisanship. We take our
duty to help others in need seriously, and we approached
Morgan Lewis, one of our top long-standing law firms, to discuss ways we could work together with
Equal Justice Works in Chicago to help address this crisis.
What resulted is a partnership with EJW, sponsoring our first Fellow – a recent law school graduate who will dedicate the next two years serving detained immigrant mothers. With support from Exelon and Morgan Lewis, our Fellow,
Alison Heinen will provide these women with direct representation, education and support through a coalition of women’s interest groups, including pro bono attorneys from Exelon’s legal department, as well as creating materials and processes that will last beyond the fellowship.
Alison is already fully immersed in immigration issues from her work with the
Rocky Mountain Immigration Advocacy Network
and has previously organized similar projects with pro bono attorneys.
This sponsorship allows Exelon to help our communities and ensure our nation’s laws and opportunities are applied fairly to all, while working to keep parents and children united. Additionally, it provides much-needed mentoring for new attorneys, courtesy of our dedicated volunteer attorneys, helping prepare them for careers marked by the commitment and service we prioritize.