Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center:
NIJC is seeking a communications coordinator to provide media relations and editorial support. NIJC promotes the rights of immigrants through direct legal service, impact litigation and advocacy, and is a regular resource for expert commentary and analysis regarding federal immigration law and policy. NIJC’s communications team works closely with the organization’s legal and policy staff and clients to tell stories that break down barriers to compassion in the immigration debate and hold the U.S. government accountable to uphold human rights. NIJC’s Immigration Detention Transparency and Human Rights Project collaborates with partners nationwide to increase public access to information about the U.S. immigration system and provide groundbreaking research to equip advocates working to end inhumane immigration detention and enforcement practices. The communications coordinator will be a key member of NIJC’s communications team to assist in media relations, website content management, and editorial and multimedia projects. The communications assistant also will play a key role in maintaining the NIJC website and the organization’s online presence.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Develop brochures and other outreach materials about NIJC’s legal services
- Draft press releases, letters to the editor, and op eds regarding NIJC’s litigation developments and to promote NIJC’s vision of a more just and transparent immigration system
- Assist in responding to media inquiries, coordinating interviews with staff, and preparing talking points
- Assist in management and production of website content
- Assist in production/layout and media outreach for publications and reports
- Play a key support role in NIJC’s Immigration Detention Transparency and Human Rights Project
- Organize, log, and assist in analysis of government documents received via Freedom of Information Act requests
- Participate in the development and execution of publication and outreach strategies to release documents
- Help supplement document research with client interviews and multimedia production
- Assist in production (including layout) of Transparency Project reports
- Help maintain Transparency Project documents and related content on website
- Assist in execution of media outreach for Transparency Project reports
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. Writing experience, editor, or researcher for advocacy organizations. Attention to detail, with the ability to think creatively and strategize about how to present complex research and data in ways that are accessible to a broad audience. Highly organized and able to manage and organize large amounts of data. Selected candidates will be asked to submit writing samples that demonstrate experience writing about current human rights issues for the media and/or policy makers.
- Preferred Experience: Graphic design experience desirable. Data analysis experience is not required, but candidates with experience in analyzing and/or visualizing large data sets should highlight the experience in their applications. Demonstrated interest in immigrant rights and/or human rights advocacy preferred; knowledge of the U.S. immigration detention system desired
- Language Skills: Fluency in English required, fluency in Spanish highly recommended to assist in client interviews for inclusion in NIJC reports and publications. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and strong interpersonal skills required.
- Computer Skills: Comfort with the Adobe Creative Suite highly recommended. Comfort using content management systems, social networking tools, and other media and web technologies, or willingness to learn quickly. Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.
- Other Skills: Ability to: assimilate and convey messages on a variety of issues relating to due process violations and immigration detention in a succinct and compelling way and tailored to different audiences; write effective copy, press releases, design and layout electronic and print newsletters and website pages; work independently with limited supervision; be goal-oriented and multi-task; have a diplomatic presence; develop and maintain good working relationships with a wide variety of peer organizations; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
The development associate will report to the associate director of resource development and be tasked with three areas of responsibility: 1) Leading logistical support for NIJC’s fundraising and cultivation events; 2) Supporting individual giving campaigns; and 3) Assisting in the organization’s grants process from drafting proposals to preparing grant reports in an effort to increase public and private foundation support. The successful candidate must be a team player, work well in a fast-paced environment, exercise good judgment, maintain confidentiality as necessary, and manage multiple priorities in a deadline-driven environment.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Plan, design, and produce events (minimum of four) including: scheduling, invitation coordination, logistics, staffing, and post-event follow-up, tracking, and reports
- Develop materials for potential funders and current funders demonstrating NIJC’s impact and response to emerging environment
- Collaborate with the associate director of resource development and executive director to develop strategies, foster relationships, implement activities, and analyze performance of events and individual campaigns to maximize financial return
- Support the development of grant applications, including writing, editing and collecting information from staff and publicly available data sources
- Maintain an electronic grant calendar and track requests, reports, and renewal submissions.
- Work collaboratively with project directors to identify and research government, public, and private funding opportunities to support existing and future programs/projects
- Identify and cultivate relationships with new and existing donors and prospects
- Collaborate with the communications team on the design and development of donor marketing materials and strategies for growing the organization’s overall online fundraising capability
- Perform administrative duties including: maintaining the organization’s development-related databases (i.e. ensuring information is accurate and current, processing donations and entering gifts into donor database), drafting acknowledgement letters, tracking expenses and reimbursement requests, and managing the donor acknowledgement process
- Maintain a thorough understanding of the organization’s services, goals, mission and strategic direction
- Bachelor's degree, preferably in journalism, communications, marketing, English, or a related field
- Minimum 2 years of experience in grant writing, events, marketing, journalism, or similar area. Familiarity with foundation/corporate solicitations, government funding, nonprofit setting, or other issues related to civil/human rights is beneficial
- Exceptional written and oral communication skills
- Strong organization, research, and analysis skills
- Extremely high attention to detail, consistent and reliable follow through, and ability to prioritize
- High energy, creative self-starter who will take initiative and work independently to achieve results, but can also collaborate and contribute positively to team efforts
- Strong computer skills, particularly in Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Raiser’s Edge
- Basic photography skills
Legal Orientation Program Coordinator, Adult Detention Project
The LOP Coordinator position is split between the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) and traditional detention work. The LOP educates detained immigrants about their rights and the immigration court process so that they can make informed decisions about their legal cases, while NIJC’s traditional detention work involves client intake and representation. The coordinator will devote 60% of work time to LOP and 40% to traditional detention work and is encouraged to seek full accreditation with the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Legal Orientation Program:
- Obtain EQIP clearance in order to access facility new arrival lists; create Group and Individual Orientation lists in conjunction with LOP attorney.
- Attend LOP once per week at either McHenry County Jail or Kenosha County Detention Center; conduct individual orientations with LOP participants.
- Manage LOP data entry in compliance with donor requirements. Ensure all data for the month is inputted in the database prior to the third business day of the next month.
- Ensure appropriate follow-up with LOP participants (e.g. that participants marked for detention project follow-up are distributed to detention project staff for follow-up; rejection letters are sent to remaining participants; participants are invited to pro se workshops as needed).
- Ensure communication, reporting and data-tracking procedures remain in compliance with security requirements per funding contract.
- Develop and update systems for tracking and evaluating LOP activities in line with funder requirements and project goals.
- Assist with LOP logistics including assisting with vehicle rentals and staff scheduling for LOP visits.
- Participate on an as-needed basis in monthly funder update conference calls, identifying trends and changes relevant to LOP programming.
- Ensure appropriate follow-up following supervisor assessment of individual cases.
Detention Intake & Case Screening:
- Conduct detention intake interviews with detained non-citizens and their family members.
- Present detention intake interviews for legal assessment.
- In coordination with the assigned attorney, conduct legal and country-conditions research to assess claims and eligibility for immigration relief.
- Prepare immigration cases for filing for LOP staff attorneys.
- Prepare affidavits and supporting documents.
- Conduct country research and draft country conditions sections of filings.
- Assist LOP staff attorneys in preparation of pre-hearing statements.
- Participate in trainings and review legal materials to remain current on immigration law, policies, and procedures.
- Train and supervise interns on all administrative procedures and basic case assessment protocol.
- Assist with the recruitment and onboarding of all interns and new project staff.
- Bachelor’s degree with demonstrated experience, preferably at least two years, working with immigrants or other vulnerable populations.
- Fluency in Spanish is required.
- Ability to communicate clearly and professionally, orally and in writing, with individuals of a variety of educational, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
- Must be comfortable working with individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including those with criminal records.
- Excellent writing and organizational skills, as well as the ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and perform under time constraints.
Litigation Project Coordinator
The litigation project coordinator helps implement and support NIJC’s nationwide advocacy and litigation efforts in response to heightened immigration enforcement. As part of this program, the coordinator, along with NIJC attorneys, will work with NIJC clients and diverse national partners to challenge human rights violations and wrongful immigration enforcement initiatives to promote fairness in our nation’s immigration system. The overall objectives of the position are to: 1) coordinate effective documentation of international and domestic human rights violations; 2) strengthen the systemic impact of NIJC’s casework through identification of trends and emerging human rights issues; 3) respond and document national calls from immigrants in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody; 4) coordinate advocacy efforts in immigration proceedings and federal court; and 5) respond and document the needs of partner organizations, including conducting issue-based training on legal relief available to detainees, detention conditions and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE policies; and facilitate meetings. Travel may be required to carry out the program objectives.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Work alongside the program’s attorneys to support in all filings with various government agencies.
- Communicate with clients and their families to explain federal litigation, gather necessary documentation, and prepare relevant underlying applications for relief.
- Investigate immigrant detainee complaints regarding detention conditions and respond accordingly. Present findings orally and/or through written memos.
- Gather data to analyze human rights violations, and potentially work in cross departmental teams to develop materials for national advocacy efforts.
- Maintain databases and dockets, and collect data to strengthen grant reporting, fundraising, and media campaigns. Work with the development team in the preparation of grant reports.
- Maintain the internal filing systems to increase efficiency within the department, review case files in preparation for closing all litigation related matters in the database.
- Create and implement internal administrative protocols to maintain the organization of the department.
- Gather the agenda for, and lead, weekly departmental meetings.
- Provide support to the pro bono component of the project; maintain pro bono attorney and firm assignments and activities in the database, write thank you letters and case summaries for possible case placement.
- Monitor websites to gather current information regarding country condition abroad and legal developments around the United States.
- Troubleshoot across departments as issues arise.
- Develop content for, and maintain, the litigation section of the website.
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in human rights field, legal and/or communications work required. This position may require experience with vulnerable populations.
- Language Skills: Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Ability to effectively interview clients and engage in fact-gathering for advocacy or litigation in a fast-paced environment.
- Technical Skills: Ability to design and maintain program website with minimal training; fluency in Microsoft Office especially Word and Excel; ability to maintain and organize large quantities of information in an electronic database
- Attention to detail and accuracy: Ability to competently and effectively communicate orally and in writing for a variety of audiences; ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently
- Demonstrated commitment to immigrant rights/human rights
- Volunteer Management: Ability to train interns, to assist with projects, supervise work, and assign additional tasks on an as needed basis
- Understanding the Importance of Client Confidentiality: In accordance with organizational policies and ethical standards required of the legal profession and the code of professional responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies, and avoids conflicts of interest.
Paralegal (Goshen, Indiana)
The paralegal provides general support through intake, research, case review, documentation preparation and other related tasks to support general operations and the work of staff and pro bono attorneys.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conducts intake, as assigned.
- Conducts legal and factual research.
- Assesses cases to determine eligibility.
- Conducts interviews with clients and witnesses.
- Drafts applications, affidavits, letters and/or legal pleadings and prepares supporting documentation.
- Prepares materials for submission to Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Court, or other entities as appropriate.
- Reviews, analyzes and presents cases to supervisor.
- Conducts educational presentations.
- Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures.
- Maintains complete, thorough, accurate and current records in an organized fashion in accordance with legal standards, rules and ethics.
- Ensures the accuracy, substance and timeliness of statistical and narrative reports, projects, schedules and other relevant work products.
- In accord with organizational policies and the ethical standards required of the legal profession, the Code of Professional Responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies and avoids conflicts of interest.
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelor's degree with demonstrated experience working with immigrants, refugees and/or asylum seekers. At least one year of experience working with these populations preferred.
- Language Skills: Fluency in another language may be required. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences.
- Other Qualifications: Excellent writing, editing, organizational and computer skills required. Ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and perform well under strict deadlines.
Staff Attorney (Chicago and Goshen)
The staff attorney provides legal representation and immigration service counseling to immigrants and refugees appearing before the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). This position advocates for clients before other government administrative agencies and before other service agencies, as needed and/or as appropriate.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conducts preliminary intake interview, gathers all relevant facts for presentation at Unit meetings. Makes assessment of income eligibility and makes appropriate referrals for those individuals not eligible for organization services. Recommends exceptions to financial guidelines to the Supervisor.
- Develops and implements preliminary case strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in consultation with supervisor.
- Prepares the case for hearing, drafting legal papers, engaging in negotiation, presenting evidence, etc. in accord with the Code of Professional Responsibility for the legal profession.
- Conducts assessment of client on social, psychological and economic functioning and determines appropriate interventions and referrals. Ensures the provision of a wide range of services for clients.
- Carries a volume of work as required by the department. Has in-depth knowledge of legal and other resources. Provides a wide range of court advocacy services.
- Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures. Remains current on implications of criminal and civil law as it apples to the representation of immigrants and refugees.
- Develops and maintains professional relationships with USCIS, government and social service organizations and community organizations. Interprets immigration and department policies and programs to the public, including public speaking.
- In accord with the ethical standards required of the legal profession, the Code of Professional Responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies and avoids conflict of interest.
- Maintains complete and accurate client records. Prepares timely statistical reports. Conducts quarterly case audits for presentation and review of the supervisor.
- Participates in training on immigration procedures as assigned by the supervisor. May conduct training sessions as assigned by the supervisor.
- Participates in developing and implementing special projects. May have the primary responsibility for a project involving presentation of a particular ethnic group, immigration problem or advocacy issues on a systematic level.
- Identifies trends and recurring legal and social concerns. Recommends strategies for solutions and other needed advocacy.
- Interprets and translates for department and other organization staff as needed.
- Adheres to professional standards as outlined by governmental bodies, (and/or other appropriate professional associations), private funding sources, organization plans/policies and unit guidelines. Participates in periodic evaluative reviews and/or in-house and external staff training to ensure that she/he understand and continues to adhere to such standards. Initiates requests for assistance or guidance from supervisor to address new issues or complex concepts affecting adherence to professional standards.
- Education and/or Experience: Juris Doctorate Degree required and one year of direct experience in social service counseling and/or legal representation.
- Language Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public. Ability to read, speak and write in at least one non-English language.
Staff Attorney, LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative
NIJC’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative provides comprehensive representation to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrants and asylum seekers as well as to those living with HIV/AIDS. With the support of pro bono attorneys, the project: 1) Represents immigrants and asylum seekers before United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Chicago Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals; 2) Advocates for improvements in conditions for detained LGBT asylum seekers; and 3) Collaborates with members of local and national immigrant and LGBT advocacy groups to raise awareness of the issues facing the LGBT immigrant population. The staff attorney would participate in all areas of the project’s work, with a particular focus on direct representation of detained LGBT asylum seekers and individuals applying for immigration status as victims of violent crime in the United States.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Provide Individual Representation: The staff attorney will be responsible for handling cases before both USCIS and the Chicago Immigration Court. Case types will likely include requests for: asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture; U visas; cancellation of removal; and permanent residency. Because many of the project’s clients are detained, representation will also include appearing at bond hearings.
- Screen Potential Cases: The staff attorney will interview potential clients and analyze cases to discern eligibility for immigration benefits. They will also review transcripts and administrative records and make recommendations regarding appellate representation for detained individuals. All decisions to accept cases will be made at weekly project meetings in conjunction with supervising staff.
- Conduct Legal Research: The staff attorney will conduct research on legal issues as well as country conditions for LGBT individuals abroad. This research will be used both in individual cases and to support potential impact litigation and policy advocacy.
- Monitor Detention Conditions: The staff attorney will work to improve access to legal support for LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers who are detained in facilities across the country. He or she will identify locations where immigrant detainees are held and work with local officials and nonprofit organizations to ensure that LGBT individuals are informed of their legal rights. They will also monitor conditions for LGBT individuals in these facilities and may file administrative complaints with the Department of Homeland Security to address human rights violations in detention.
- Advise Pro Bono Attorneys: Because the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative handles many cases with assistance from pro bono attorneys possessing limited immigration expertise, the staff attorney must be able to advise counsel about the law and process of representing individuals in immigration proceedings.
- Education and Experience: Law degree from ABA accredited law school, law license, at least two years of experience in immigration law and/or refugee law, experience in immigration court and/or federal court.
- Languages: Fluency in Spanish or French is required.
- Other Qualifications: Excellent writing, editing, organizational, analytical, administrative, and computer skills required. Ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and perform well under strict deadlines. Because the attorney will work with detainees in remote facilities, an applicant who is licensed and able to drive is preferred.
NIJC offers internships to law students and undergraduate students to work in a variety of its different legal services programs. The internships present an excellent opportunity to learn more about U.S. immigration law and policies while making a difference in the lives of low-income and impoverished individuals who are in need of legal representation. NIJC is now accepting applications for Fall 2017 part-time internships.
NIJC is currently accepting applications for post-graduate legal fellowships. NIJC is open to any funding source identified by a candidate, but expects to, at a minimum, identify a candidate for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship application, and a Skadden Fellowship or a Soros Fellowship with NIJC's Counter-Trafficking Project. NIJC also welcomes applicants who will be seeking post-graduate fellowship funding through their own law schools. Please contact Emma Koch if you are interested in a fellowship. No phone calls please.
- Cover Letter: Explain your interest in NIJC and any experiences you have working with immigrant populations.
- Resume: Identify any language skills that you have. Fluency in Spanish is required for almost all positions with NIJC.
- Writing Sample: Provide a 5-10 page excerpt from a document you have produced in law school or in a legal position that is your own work.
- Brief Project Proposal: Most post-graduate legal fellowships require applicants to propose a specific project. Please give a brief description of the kind of work you would like to do. Your proposal should explain why that work is important and how you think it would complement NIJC’s existing work. NIJC will work with the selected candidate to ensure a strong proposal. Candidates are welcome to propose work with any of NIJC’s existing projects, but we are most interested in individuals who are interested in working with immigrant victims of trafficking, detained immigrants, and/or asylum seekers.
- Other: If you would like NIJC to host you for a fellowship other than any of the ones listed above, please provide a description of the fellowship and its requirements with your application. In addition to the above information, finalists will be asked to provide references and transcripts, and will be selected for various rounds of interviews.
NIJC is a program of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights that champions the human rights and improves the lives of men, women, and children who are threatened by poverty or danger. For more than 100 years we have been providing solutions- both through services and policy- that move individuals from crisis to stability and on to success. Heartland Alliance's work in housing, health care, legal protections, and economic security serves more than 100,000 people annually, helping them build better lives. Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Employee Services Office at (312) 660-1431.