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Staff Attorney, U.S.-Mexico Border Programs

Company: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Location: Brownsville
Posted on: November 20, 2023

Job Description:

About KIND:
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. Since 2008, KIND has accepted over 23,000 referrals of children seeking legal representation in their immigration proceedings. KIND has welcomed more than 41,000 attendees to trainings since its founding, cultivating partnerships with over 700 law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations across the country.
KIND's social services program ensures that migrant and refugee children - who have often endured trauma - receive counseling, educational support, medical care, and other comprehensive services.
To address the root causes of child migration from Central America and strengthen the protection of unaccompanied children, KIND advocates for policy changes and educates lawmakers, the media, and the broader public on the conditions that drive these children to flee their home countries. KIND supports children returning to their home countries by connecting them to essential support services and sponsors gender-based violence prevention programs in Central America to protect children in countries of origin and transit.
KIND is also building upon its expertise in the protection of unaccompanied children to encourage the development of pro bono initiatives across Europe in partnership with European NGOs.
Position Summary:
KIND's Legal Programs Team seeks a Staff Attorney, U.S.-Mexico Border Programs to orient and counsel family units and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The position will preferably be based out of the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas, with potential travel to El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The incumbent will work closely with the Managing Attorney, Managing Director, Social Services Coordinator, International organizations, and NGO contacts to identify children and families in need of KIND's services. The incumbent will conduct screenings, Know Your Rights orientations, and direct representation as needed. The incumbent will provide consultations to family groups to prevent family separation, mitigate the impact of family separation, and promote the reunification of separated and unaccompanied children with their families. This Staff Attorney, U.S.-Mexico Border Programs will report to the Managing Attorney on KIND's team based along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This position will preferably based in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas, and will require local travel and occasional travel to other areas, including to KIND's regional office in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Note: This position is contingent upon KIND successfully securing additional funding and will initially be a one (1) year term, subject to potential renewal contingent upon ongoing funding availability.
Essential Functions:

  • Ensures that family groups and unaccompanied children have access to options counseling and representation to prevent or mitigate family separation, or facilitate reunification.
  • Collaborates with staff in Mexico to provide screenings, technical assistance, orientation, and representation for children seeking to reunify with family in the United States.
  • Undertakes direct legal counsel functions, including legal research and formulating the legal strategy for individual cases; conducts client interviews; provides Know Your Rights presentations and legal orientations for children and families; appears before immigration agencies as needed.
  • Receives referrals from and coordinates with counterparts at international organizations and NGO partners on high-needs cases.
  • Ensures that particularly vulnerable children are screened for protection needs and options for relief and that pertinent referrals for services are made to NGO and other partners, in addition to pursuing protection strategies.
  • Provides interim or longer-term counseling and support for children and families after being processed into the U.S., including an orientation on their parole or other documentation, any reporting requirements, court hearings, and address changes.
  • Builds relationships across the border with other legal and community organizations supporting unaccompanied children and families, identifying gaps in services where KIND's expertise can supplement existing programs.
  • Strengthens the identification of trends and protection issues both in Mexico and the United States in order to advocate more effectively for systemic policy change that reduces the incidence of family separation overall and strengthens protection systems.
  • Coordinates with KIND's U.S. field offices and teams to provide continuity of representation where possible.
  • 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 other Mexico-based teams.
  • Attends meetings, conferences, and other events as a representative of KIND.
  • Ensures entry of timely, accurate, and detailed case data into KIND's case management systems.
  • Supports funder reporting, data requests, and grant proposals.
  • Contributes to overall team functioning, including joining team meetings and organization-wide calls and meetings; participates in team, office, and KIND-wide committees; assists with events.
  • As needed, supervises Paralegals, Program Coordinators, Interns, and/or other non-legal staff including onboarding, skills training, daily support and coaching, review and quality assurance of filings, regular check-ins and performance evaluations, and provision of consistent and effective supervision and oversight.

    Qualifications and Requirements:

    • J.D. and admitted to state bar.
    • Must be fluent in English and Spanish.
    • Minimum of 1 year of experience practicing immigration law, which should include representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas, and T visas.
    • Minimum of 1 year of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, and/or working with vulnerable populations, survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma.
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English and Spanish.
    • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suites (such as Teams, Excel, etc.).
    • Ability to work collaboratively and multi-task in our KIND environment, managing numerous priorities and emerging opportunities.
    • Excellent organizational skills with ability to work on multiple projects in a deadline-oriented environment. Ability to prioritize tasks and to delegate as appropriate.
    • Ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and communication styles.
    • Committed to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as embracing transparency and authenticity in daily work life.
    • Be disciplined and nimble to ensure delivery on our core mission of access to justice and protection of children's wellbeing and rights.
    • Showing the ability to multi-task and work with a sense of urgency in a dynamic, fast paced environment.
    • Committed to practicing and supporting wellbeing and a work-home life balance.
    • Experience working and communicating in a remote environment.

      Compensation: $84,300
      KIND requires all U.S.-based staff to be COVID vaccinated with the exception of those who have medical or religious beliefs exemptions.
      Application Instructions:
      Please be advised that an employment application will need to be submitted along with your resume and cover letter, in order to be considered for the desired role.
      KIND has an organization-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We strive to create a work environment where everyone has a sense of belonging. Individuals from historically underrepresented or underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply.
      Disclaimer: KIND is committed to an ethical recruitment and hiring process and maintains a firm "no fees" recruitment policy. We will never charge a fee or ask for money as part of the application process. KIND also conducts all interviews via telephone or video conference, and at no time will KIND engage in a text or mobile app-based application or interview process. For more information, please visit the following website:

Keywords: Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Brownsville , Staff Attorney, U.S.-Mexico Border Programs, Legal , Brownsville, Texas

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