Direct Services Attorney, Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) - Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides high-quality, pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States. SIFI’s skilled legal teams focus on winning detained immigrants’ release from custody. In partnership with other SPLC legal teams and pro bono volunteers, SIFI teams also engage in other forms of advocacy, including: removal defense through merits; advocacy to redress harm from conditions of confinement; and federal litigation to challenge the deportation machine.
SIFI currently serves immigrants imprisoned at five major detention centers across the Southeast: the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA; the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA; the Folkston ICE Processing Center in Folkston, GA; the LaSalle ICE Processing Center in Jena, LA, and the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairie, LA. To promote greater client contact, SIFI’s four offices are located near the detention centers where our clients are confined. Each office has a Lead Attorney, one or two Direct Services Attorneys, and one or two Project Coordinators. Some have an Administrative Assistant. Pro bono attorneys, law students, and interpreters regularly volunteer remotely and at the offices to expand SIFI’s legal representation. Despite our common structure, each office has distinct workflows and workplace culture.
The Direct Services Attorney provides direct legal representation to detained individuals in removal proceedings before the Immigration Courts, with a focus on winning release from custody through bond and parole applications. The Direct Services Attorney collaborates closely with the entire SIFI team, SIFI partners, allied organizations to support ongoing pro bono efforts, including developing potential federal litigation arising from removal defense work.
- Provide direct representation to SIFI clients in seeking their release from detention, generally through bond or parole, by preparing filings and appearing before the Immigration Courts
- To a lesser extent, provide direct representation to certain SIFI clients in merits removal proceedings and proceedings before federal immigration agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Maintain accurate and complete electronic case records for all SIFI clients in the detention centers in accordance with best practice and ethical standards for the profession
- Engage with and manage volunteers—including those who work at the offices for one-week periods and those who work remotely—in document collection, writing, and editing of filings in bond proceedings, parole requests, and, to a lesser extent, other removal defense proceedings
- Collaborate with attorneys, legal paraprofessionals, and interpreters, in furtherance of the representation of SIFI clients
- At times, provide on-the-ground support for civil rights litigation and other advocacy on behalf of individuals detained in the detention centers
- Education and Related Work Experience:
- JD from an accredited university
- Membership in good standing in the bar of any state and/or the District of Columbia
- Dedication to and experience working with low-income, immigrant clients
- Spoken and written proficiency in a language used by the clients we serve (Spanish; Creole; French; Arabic; Hindi; Urdu and other languages)
- Experience practicing before immigration courts preferred
- Valid driver’s license and ability to commute
- Preferred Qualifications:
- Strong spoken and written proficiency (but not native language-level fluency) in a language used by the clients we serve (while Spanish proficiency is highly preferred, proficiency in Creole/French/Arabic/Hindi/Urdu and other languages will also strengthen the application)
- At least one year of experience practicing before immigration courts preferred
- Experience working within volunteer-based projects preferred
- Knowledge, skills and abilities:
- Ability to work additional hours as needed
- Willingness to manage volunteers on a regular basis
- Commitment to working with detained individuals in the rural Deep South
How to Apply:
Along with a resume, please submit a legal writing sample, a cover letter, three references, and unofficial transcript. For immediate consideration, please apply here.