Staff Attorney, Kids in Need of Defense
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a global leader in the protection of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children. Launched in 2008, KIND champions a world in which every child’s rights and well-being are protected throughout their journey to safety. KIND has provided over 19,000 children with high quality representation in their immigration proceedings by training more than 41,000 attorneys and cultivating partnerships with over 600 law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations across the country.
KIND seeks a Staff Attorney for KIND’S Mexico Initiative, which will engage in cross-border efforts to provide unaccompanied children with initial legal orientations, protection screenings, and options counseling in collaboration with civil society and government-run shelters for unaccompanied children. Based in Ciudad Juárez, México, the Staff Attorney works alongside a Managing Attorney and Program Coordinator and will focus primarily on identification, screenings and intake, options counseling, and know-your-rights orientations to unaccompanied children. The Staff Attorney helps build engagement and coordination with local coalitions of service providers. S/he may plan and assist in overseeing the activities of bono attorneys and other volunteers deployed to the border to assist in protecting the rights of unaccompanied children attempting to access protection. This position is housed in KIND’s Legal Strategy and Special Programs (SSP) team and reports into the Managing Attorney.
- Ensures that unaccompanied children residing in shelters and other facilities in Mexico have access to know-your-rights orientations
- Ensures that particularly vulnerable children are screened for protection needs and relief and that pertinent referrals for services are made to NGO and other partners, in addition to pursuing protection strategies
- Builds relationships across the border with other legal and community organizations supporting unaccompanied children, identifying gaps in services where KIND’s expertise can supplement existing programs
- Undertakes direct legal counsel functions, including legal research and formulating the legal strategy for individual cases; conducting client interviews; and appearing before immigration agencies, as needed
- Monitors treatment of unaccompanied Mexican children and compliance with their rights under U.S. law, advocating where possible for full access to protection under U.S. law.
- Attends meetings, conferences, and other events as a representative of KIND
- Documents conditions of care, access to counsel and other activities affecting unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border, as needed
- Coordinates with KIND’s U.S. field offices to ensure continuity of representation where possible
- In cases where KIND is not in a position to represent an unaccompanied child, work with the Program Coordinator and KIND’s Senior Director for Pro Bono Partnerships and other Legal Services team colleagues to refer the case to other service providers
- Conducts presentations and trainings on U.S. law regarding unaccompanied children for a broad range of stakeholders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border
- Helps ensure cross-component collaboration with KIND’s Policy and Advocacy and Communications teams and Regional team.
- Ensures entry of timely, accurate, and detailed case data into KIND’s case management systems
- Support reporting and grant proposals, as needed
- Supervises Paralegals, Program Assistants, Program Coordinators, interns, and/or other non-legal staff, as necessary
- Juris Doctor or equivalent from accredited U.S. or Mexican law school and admission to the bar in at least one U.S. state or territory and/or Mexico (cédula profesional or equivalent); US LLM strongly preferred
- Fluency in Spanish (oral and written) required
- At least two (2) years of experience practicing US immigration law required, including representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas and T visas, or similar protections under Mexican law
- Experience working with legal staff or volunteers preferred
- A minimum of two (2) years of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, or experience working with survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma
- Exposure to or familiarity with Mexican immigration system and child welfare laws preferred
- A strong record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills. Experience communicating with Mexico- or Latin-America-based officials and NGO partners preferred
- Demonstrated writing and public speaking/training skills
- Ability to take initiative, multi-task, and work independently
- Ability to handle discreet, sensitive, and confidential information appropriately and exercise judgement in a fast-paced environment
- Ability to travel frequently between U.S. and Mexico for conferences, retreats, or other professional development opportunities
- Ability to be flexible and adapt to frequently-changing circumstances, policies, and conditions affecting this dynamic work
- Familiarity with Mexican and Central American legal documents and vocabulary highly preferred
How to Apply:
To apply for this position, or for more information, click here.