Mary Meg McCarthy

Executive Director, Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center

Mary Meg is the executive director of Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), one of the nation’s foremost immigrant and human rights advocacy organizations. Under Mary Meg’s leadership, NIJC has become a leading organization dedicated to advancing justice for immigrants. Working with a pro bono network of 1,500 attorneys, NIJC provides counsel and representation to approximately 10,000 low income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers each year. NIJC’s legal services inform its advocacy, litigation and educational initiatives to promote human rights locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

An expert in immigration law, Mary Meg has testified before Congress and is often quoted in major news outlets such as MSNBC, The New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. As an active member of the American Bar Association, Mary Meg chairs its Commission on Immigration. She is also a member of The Chicago Network, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Chicago Bar Association, among others. Prior to joining NIJC, Mary Meg practiced civil litigation and was an NIJC pro bono attorney. Earlier in her career she worked in local communities in Chile to help safeguard the rights of individuals under a dictatorship.

Mary Meg has been honored with several awards including: the Chicago Bar Association Justice John Paul Stevens Award (October 2015), the American Constitution Society Chicago Lawyer Chapter Ruth Goldman Award (July 2015), Chicago Inn of Court 2015 Don Hubert Public Service Award, the Pax Christi 2013 Teacher of Peace Award, and the Damen Award from Loyola University Chicago (June 2015).