HIAS/EPIC Border Fellow
The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC) is a social justice organization whose mission is to advance equity and justice by empowering low-income immigrant communities through collaborative legal services, advocacy, and education. Each year we provide direct legal representation and assistance in immigration matters to thousands of immigrants and advocate for laws and policies that respect the rights of immigrants.
The El Paso Immigration Collaborative (EPIC) is a project of ten local and national organizations fighting for the due process and humanitarian rights of asylum seekers unnecessarily and unjustly forced to suffer incarceration while in immigration proceedings.
HIAS, a nonprofit organization, stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom. HIAS is funding this position as part of its Border Fellows Project which builds the capacity of organizations working along the southern border of the U.S. in order to serve more asylum seekers.
The HIAS/EPIC Border Fellow is a one-year legal fellowship, with possibility of renewal, in our growing collaborative project. The Fellow will be funded by HIAS and placed at NMILC for purposes of supporting NMILC’s and EPIC’s asylum and detention services. The HIAS/EPIC Border Fellow will provide provide legal consultation, pro se assistance and advocacy to asylum seekers in the El Paso CBP/ICE/ERO field office jurisdiction. The Fellow will focus on preparing asylum seekers (and those seeking withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture, among other immigration benefits) in detention for their Credible/Reasonable Fear Interviews and negative fear redetermination hearings. The Fellow will also advocate against practices of prolonged detention, constitutional violations, and other injustices in the immigration legal system in the relevant jurisdiction. The HIAS/EPIC Border Fellow will primarily work with immigrants detained in the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, NM and in the Torrance County Detention Facility in Estancia, NM, but the Fellow may also work in other detention centers served by EPIC. The HIAS/EPIC Border Fellow will report to a Supervising Attorney at NMILC and work in close coordination with the. EPIC network.. NMILC is headquartered in Albuquerque, NM and EPIC is headquartered in El Paso, TX. This position will be based in Albuquerque, NM.
Essential Job Duties And Responsibilities
- Provide legal orientation, assistance and advocacy to asylum seekers and detained immigrants in the Torrance County Detention Facility and Cibola County Correctional Center, with a focus on the Credible/Reasonable Fear Interview stage. Occasionally provide assistance to detained immigrants in other detention centers in the El Paso ERO region.
- Supervise and mentor NMILC staff assisting with detention and asylum legal services.
- Develop materials to train and aid staff, pro bono attorneys, clients, and pro se respondents as they endeavor to navigate the complex immigration system.
- Manage records and data for detained immigrants served through NMILC’s detention programming. Comply with data and program reporting requirements for NMILC, EPIC and HIAS.
- Identify individuals detained in Cibola and Torrance who qualify for EPIC referrals. Facilitate and track those referrals in the EPIC system for the purpose of assistance in 235 proceedings, representation for parole and bond, and the possibility of representation in merits proceedings, habeas cases, and any other mechanisms for release from detention that may arise.
- Collaborate regularly with and liaise between NMILC and EPIC staff to develop and analyze legal strategies; personalize case interventions/actions; and contribute to the development of best practices at the intersection of technology and the law.
- Collect data through direct services to inform advocacy efforts in the El Paso ERO to close detention centers, improve access to counsel, address due process issues with EOIR, and support whatever campaigns and movements the collaborative agrees on.
- Engage in outreach and education (provide immigrant rights training, speak at key conferences and community forums, and other opportunities as they arise) in the El Paso ERO host communities. Support efforts of NMILC and EPIC to engage local communities around the issues of immigration detention and asylum, including identifying opportunities for volunteer engagement and contributing to organizational blogs or other communication platforms.
- Support HIAS in engaging its base around the issues of immigration detention and asylum, including one contribution to the HIAS blog or other communication (including but not limited to: photos, videos, presentations, or briefing calls) per trimester, as requested.
- Stay up to date on rapidly changing immigration laws and policies.
- Under the supervision of NMILC’s Supervising Attorney, support the broader legal efforts of NMILC’s asylum team through regular engagement, case assistance and mentorship.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
Experience, Knowledge, Skills, And Abilities
The following are the minimum levels required to successfully perform the essential job duties and responsibilities.
- JD degree and admission to the bar.
- STRONGLY PREFERRED: Minimum of two years experience practicing immigration law. Preference will be given to those with additional years of direct service experience.
- STRONGLY PREFERRED: Knowledge of asylum, detention/incarceration, expedited removal, USCIS, BIA, and Immigration Court procedures.
- Excellent written, analytical, oral, organizational, legal research, case management and time management skills.
- Well-organized, efficient, highly motivated, collaborative, able to work well under pressure, and able to work independently and as part of a remote team.
- Must maintain professional demeanor and excellent work ethics at all times.
- Demonstrated commitment to immigrant rights and social justice.
- Valid driver’s license, access to an automobile, insurance, and willingness to drive to off-site locations.
- Experience working with people from diverse backgrounds, including low-income populations, people who are marginally housed, incarcerated people, people who have experienced trauma, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, people of color and/or persons with disabilities.
- Advanced Spanish language skills strongly preferred. Additional language skills encouraged.
- Interpersonal Skills: High emotional intelligence and relational skills; must consistently demonstrate teamwork and positive day-to-day work relationships and interactions with staff, stakeholders, government officials and community members; listens and maintains open to other’s ideas; can facilitate team members bringing up different perspectives in a respectful way; effective at resolving interpersonal conflict.
NMILC is an equal opportunity employer: immigrants, transgender and gender non-binary individuals, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. NMILC is a progressive organization and applicants are expected to collaborate in an inclusive and diverse environment. We are a group of highly dedicated and motivated individuals seeking transformative change for our state and welcome anyone who is interested in being part of our team.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, NMILC’s staff is largely working remotely. This position is usually based out of our Albuquerque office. If the successful candidate is hired while NMILC’s staff is still remote, we will work with that candidate to ensure that they have the tools, equipment, and digital onboarding to be successfully integrated into our remote work environment. As national and state guidance allows, the attorney will be expected to be physically present in Albuquerque.
Salary and Benefits
Starting salary for a fellow attorney position is $57,200 with upward adjustments for additional years of relevant experience. For example, for someone with 5 years of relevant experience with immigration law, asylum and detention the annual salary would be $64,480. NMILC is proud to currently offer a generous benefits package, including;
- 100% of premiums for excellent health, vision and dental plans, including coverage for qualifying family members
- Access to a 401K plan and discretionary employer match up to 10% (determined each fiscal year based on funding projections)
- Access to an optional Flexible Spending Account for pre-tax funds for medical and/or dependent care cost.
NMILC also recognizes the value in supporting the needs of staff outside of work and that investing in staff’s ability to take care of themselves and their families enables them to do their best work. In this effort, we currently:
- Provide flexible work schedule and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Provide leave of 15 paid vacation days during the first year of employment and an additional two days of leave each year after two years of employment, 35 paid holidays (including federal holidays and 2 weeks for winter break, 1week for spring break, and 1 week for summer break, in coordination with the local public school schedule), 10 paid health-related days;
- Provide up to 5 hours of paid break/meal time each week
Please submit your: a) resume; and b) cover letter describing how your lived or work experience would make you a good fit for this role to firstname.lastname@example.org. Best consideration will be given to those who apply by August 31, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.
The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.