Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center:
Associate Director of Policy or Policy Associate
Level 1: Policy Associate
Level 2: Associate Director of Policy
NIJC is seeking a policy associate to assist in developing and spearheading strategic advocacy efforts on immigration-related issues, primarily at the federal level. Individual accountabilities and work volume will be established through the development of annual success objectives, within the framework outlined below. Distinctions between Level 1 and Level 2 include span of authority and expectations to work independently.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Support the director of policy in developing and implementing diverse grassroots, local, state, and federal advocacy strategies on immigrant rights issues, with a focus on issues that impact asylum seekers, detainees, and immigrants deprived of full due process protections.
- Coordinate closely with communications, litigation, detention, and other NIJC teams to advance strategic reform goals on immigration detention and due process issues.
- Work in formal and informal coalitions of legal aid and advocacy organizations to advocate for policy reform; draft and edit statements, reports, and other jointly-produced products.
- Draft advocacy and educational materials on emerging policy issues.
- Assist in drafting comments for NIJC in response to agency notice-and-comment rulemaking; preparing petitions for rulemaking; preparing comments on agency-proposed policy, guidance, programs, and other initiatives not subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking.
- Represent NIJC and its priorities at external meetings.
- Participate in grant proposal development, editing, review and submission.
- Help plan and direct the online components of broad-based campaigns across the new media platform, including web, email, and social networks.
- Other research and writing assistance as requested by the director of policy or the executive director.
Level 2 (all of Level 1, plus):
- Take a leadership role in the DHS/NGO Enforcement Working Group, which includes 100 plus non-governmental organizations.
- Maintain and develop relationships with members of Congress, the White House, and other governmental agencies.
- Education and/or Experience:
- Level 1: Minimum of two years of related experience (including internships); graduate degree preferred.
- Level 2: Minimum of three years of related professional experience, Juris Doctorate or Masters degree in public policy or related field of study required.
- Language Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret regulations, legislation, including immigration laws and regulations, legal memos, case law and related materials.
- Reasoning, Other Skills and Abilities: Experience making public presentations and preparing and delivering testimony to committees of the government. Experience creating persuasive written documents for external consumption. Experience analyzing the complex policy arena and crafting appropriate responses.
- Able and available to travel to Washington, D.C. or other venues as needed to present information, develop or present solutions, and to participate with external organizations to seek changes needed to make the service delivery more efficient or effective or to close newly identified gaps.
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 coordinator also will play a key role in maintaining the NIJC website (www.immigrantjustice.org) 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
- 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
- Coordinate with Online Engagement Manager and Communications Director to 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
- Comfort using content management systems, social networking tools, and other media and web technologies, or willingness to learn quickly
- 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
- Spanish fluency highly recommended to assist in client interviews for inclusion in NIJC reports and publications
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.
The legal supervisor is a member of the NIJC supervision team and provides legal services and oversight of the immigrant services staff to ensure quality legal representation to immigrants and refugees seeking relief under immigration law. The person in this role will ensure quality legal services and representation to immigrants, refugees and those seeking U.S. citizenship. As a member of the supervisory team, the member will be responsible for knowledge regarding other areas of legal services provided by NIJC and provide supervisory support. The supervisor will also be responsible for monthly reports, reports to funders and periodic evaluations.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Supervises legal services and oversees paralegals and attorneys providing legal services
- Ensures accurate data entry by paralegals and attorneys
- Oversees and coordinates legal services schedule to ensure intake coverage
- Maintains and develops strategic partnerships with key stakeholders
- Conducts factual and legal research
- Trains lawyers and non-lawyers in the field of immigration law
- Provides legal representation to immigrants in immigration proceedings, including before an immigration officer, an immigration judge, and in federal court, as appropriate
- Drafts correspondence and documents, including applications, briefs and reports
- Improves delivery of legal services, including use of technology to improve efficiency
- Conducts legal presentations regarding law and case(s) to NIJC staff, managing attorney(s), and members of the immigrant community
- Maintains accurate, thorough, and timely records
- Maintains current knowledge regarding immigration law and policies and procedures
- Reacts to change productively and handles other essentials duties as assigned
- Education and/or Experience: A law degree (JD), license to practice law and at least two years experience in the legal field, preferably in the field of immigration law; or a bachelor’s degree with at least seven years experience as a Board of Immigration Appeals’ accredited representative.
- Language Skills: Bilingual in English and one other language, as needed. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and strong interpersonal skills required.
- Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.
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.
Immigrant Legal Defense Project Paralegal
The paralegal provides general paralegal 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. This posting is for a position with NIJC's Immigrant Legal Defense Project, which offers a wide range of low-cost and free legal services to low-income immigrants in jurisdiction of the Chicago immigration court, and represents immigrants before U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
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.
- Other duties may be assigned.
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelors 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.
The staff attorney provides legal representation and immigration service counseling to immigrants and refugees appearing before the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). He or she advocates for clients before other government administrative agencies and before other service agencies, as needed and/or as appropriate. This staff attorney position will work with a to be determined program: NIJC's Immigrant Legal Defense (ILD), Asylum Project, or Children's Protection Project. The ILD Project offers a wide range of low-cost and free legal services to low-income immigrants in jurisdiction of the Chicago immigration court, and represents immigrants before U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The Children's Project represents and advocates for detained and non-detained immigrant children who face the possibility of deportation to a dangerous homeland. The Asylum Project provides free legal representation to people fleeing persecution and torture in their native countries.
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 the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, 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.
- Mathematical Skills: Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs.
- Reasoning Ability: Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
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 Winter-Spring 2016 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. Our 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.