This position is a one- to two-year (1-2) Legal Fellowship with Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. (DMRS), funded by HIAS. The Border Fellow will be responsible for providing direct representation for DMRS clients in immigration cases, including representation in Immigration Court and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), while helping to support the broader immigration efforts of DMRS’ legal team. Under the supervision of the Removal Defense Unit Supervisor, the HIAS Border Fellow will provide direct legal representation in affirmative and defensive cases to individuals seeking asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture protection; adults and children affirmatively seeking asylum; children seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status; and crime victims seeking VAWA classification or U visas, among other immigration benefits. Please apply through the HIAS website no later than Friday, March 8th, in order to be considered.
- Provides legal representation in immigration cases, including both affirmative applications and representation of clients in removal proceedings, as well as potential appellate work in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and Federal Circuit Courts.
- Under the supervision of DMRS’ Removal Defense Unit Supervisor, supports DMRS’s immigration team, including the DOJ accredited representatives, pro bono attorneys, and other staff as assigned, through regular engagement, case assistance and mentorship.
- Oversees and provides legal orientation, counseling and education regarding a range of immigration issues and other legal problems faced by members of the low-income immigrant communities that DMRS serves.
- Manages caseload of in-house and pro bono mentorship cases for immigration relief;
- Serves as the on-site coordinator and mentor for a minimum of two groups of pro bono attorneys who will come to DMRS for one-week stints to provide pro bono representation, to be done in conjunction with the DMRS Pro Bono Volunteer Coordinator and Pro Bono Coordinator;
- Stays up to date on rapidly changing immigration laws and policies;
- Complies with data and program reporting requirements.
- Supports efforts of HIAS to engage the Jewish and Catholic communities around the issues of immigration detention and asylum, including identifying opportunities for non-attorney engagement and submitting one contribution to the HIAS blog or other communication (such as a video, presentation, briefing call, etc.) per trimester (every four months).
- Juris Doctorate degree with membership in good standing in the bar of any state and/or the District of Columbia.
- Bilingual English/Spanish.
- A minimum of 2-3 years of experience with immigration law, including removal defense work before the immigration court.
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including good communication skills, listening skills and attitude.
- Strong case management, legal research, and legal writing skills required.
- Demonstrated ability and willingness to zealously pursue new and untested legal theories.
- Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work under pressure required.
- Ability to work both independently and in a group setting.
- Ability to work flexible hours, including some evenings and weekends.
- Valid driver’s license, access to an automobile, insurance, and willingness to drive to off-site locations.
- Passion for social justice for immigrants required and a willingness to engage with the Jewish and Catholic communities.
Other preferred skills/abilities:
- Experience working with detained immigrants or other incarcerated populations;
- Experience working with marginalized populations and survivors of trauma;
- Experience with the intersection of immigration and family law or criminal defense;
- Dedication to serving immigrant communities with a sincere commitment to working on behalf of low income immigrants.
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