Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative Lead Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides high-quality, holistic pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States. By ensuring that skilled attorneys are available to protect detained immigrants’ due process rights, the SIFI endeavors to provide high-quality legal representation in removal defense and release case arising out of Trump-era immigration enforcement actions.

The SIFI currently works in five immigration detention centers in the Southeast: Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA, Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA, Folkston Detention Center in Folkston, GA, LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, LA, and Pine Prairie Detention Center in Pine Prairie, LA.  The SIFI has offices in Lumpkin, Ocilla, Folkston, and Alexandria, LA, which are managed by on-the-ground staff who, in conjunction with on-the-ground and remote volunteers, are working on detained immigrants’ immigration cases by conducting detention center-based intake interviews, providing representation for those in detention during bond, parole, and defensive deportation proceedings.

Position:

SIFI was developed and is directed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). SIFI is part of SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project practice group, which works to protect the rights of immigrants and their children to ensure they are treated with dignity and fairness.  The SIFI Lead Attorney manages weekly pro-bono attorneys and a full-time staff comprised of two Direct Services Attorneys and a project Coordinator to provide the highest quality legal representation to individuals detained in Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA.  The SIFI Lead Attorney coordinates the legal strategies for SIFI clients and is primarily responsible for devising (in collaboration with the SIFI team) the optimal pathway for victory in each SIFI case.  This includes identifying eligibility for any defense against removal, eligibility for release through bond or parole, and potential litigation and other advocacy involving issues such as law enforcement misconduct during enforcement actions, prolonged detention, due process violations in immigration court proceedings, and conditions of confinement.  Both directly and through volunteer attorneys, the SIFI Lead Attorney provides legal advice and representation to SIFI clients in accordance with the best practices and rules of conduct of the profession, provides on-the-ground/local guidance to attorneys at SPLC Legal Department practice groups for litigation and other advocacy efforts, and participates in program management and government liaison meetings.

Responsibilities:

  • Works with local staff and SIFI organizational partners to run the operations of the project in Ocilla, Georgia;
  • Manages SIFI local staff;
  • Based on SIFI case selection criteria, thoroughly screens pro bono attorneys’ intakes for defenses against deportation, bond and parole eligibility, and other potential legal claims and advocacy;
  • Oversees development of release strategies for bond, parole, and habeas-eligible clients;
  • Engages in quality control for bond and parole submissions, including reviewing and editing documents;
  • Directly represents detained clients in bond, parole, and defensive deportation proceedings;
  • Oversees volunteer management and assesses volunteer skill each week to ensure best possible volunteer experience;
  • In conjunction with SIFI leadership, ensures that all staff and volunteers meet the highest standards of ethics and professionalism;
  • Collaborates deeply with offsite SIFI attorneys, pro bono attorneys, and related partners to maximize the success of merits cases; and
  • Other functions necessary to ensure successful completion of the project.

Qualifications:

  • JD from an accredited university;
  • Membership in good standing in the bar of any state and/or the District of Columbia;
  • At least three years of experience practicing before immigration courts;
  • Dedication to and experience working with low-income, immigrant clients;
  • Experience managing and directing staff;
  • Willingness to spend considerable time meeting with detained individuals in the rural Deep South;
  • Willingness to live and work in or near Ocilla, Georgia;
  • Valid driver’s license; and
  • Commitment to working long hours.

Preferred:

  • Spanish language proficiency preferred; will consider candidates with proficiency in Creole/French/Arabic/Hindi/Urdu or other languages; and
  • Experience working within volunteer-based projects preferred.

How to apply:

For immediate consideration, please apply here