Pro Bono and Capacity Building Director
Heidy Pineda joined Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project as a Staff Attorney in 2014. Ms. Pineda provides direct representation to unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings, and legal orientations to minors and their custodians. Her experience with representing and advocating for low-income immigrant families goes well beyond her current legal capacity. Being an immigrant herself from Guatemala who came to the U.S. as a teenager, Ms. Pineda quickly joined the fight for immigration reform knowing full well the struggles of being an undocumented student and a first generation college graduate. While a student at UCLA, Ms. Pineda contributed to the publication of the book, Underground Undergrad, UCLA Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak Out. After graduating from UCLA, Heidy joined the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) as a program manager, where she pioneered innovative programs for civic engagement and co-founded CHIRLA’s sister organization, the CHIRLA Action Fund. This, along with her own immigrant experience, motivated her to attend Loyola Law School. During law school, Ms. Pineda clerked for the Honorable Teresa Sanchez Gordon, was a Research Assistant for the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, and volunteered at different immigrant rights organizations - including Esperanza. Ms. Pineda was also the Co-President of the Loyola Immigration Law Society, and a board member of the Public Interest Law Foundation. Her current position at Esperanza allows Ms. Pineda to continue fulfilling her life’s passion of helping underserved immigrant families navigate the complex immigration system.