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 nearly 18,000 children with high quality representation in their immigration proceedings by training more than 41,000 attorneys and legal staff and cultivating partnerships with over 600 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 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.
KIND’s Legal Programs Team seeks a Staff Attorney to help orient and counsel family units and unaccompanied children in shelters in northern Mexico, in close collaboration with UNICEF. Based in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, this position will be housed in KIND’s Legal Strategy and Special Programs (SSP) team and will report to a Supervising Attorney.
The Staff Attorney will work closely with the Supervising Attorney, Managing Attorney, Social Services Coordinator and UNICEF and NGO contacts to identify children and families in need of KIND’s services and conduct screenings and know-your-rights orientations. The attorney will provide counseling and promote protection solutions for UCs and related family members in shelters, in collaboration with UNICEF and KIND colleagues.
- Ensure that unaccompanied children in northern Mexico have access to options, counseling, and representation.
- Receive referrals from, and coordinate with, counterparts at UNICEF on high-needs cases.
- Ensure 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.
- Undertake direct legal counsel functions, including: legal research and formulating the legal strategy for individual cases; conducting client interviews; filing motions and pleadings, and appearing before immigration agencies as needed.
- Provide interim or longer-term counseling and support for children after being processed into the U.S., including an orientation on their documentation, any reporting requirements, court hearings, and address changes.
- Build relationships with other legal and community organizations supporting unaccompanied children, identifying gaps in services where KIND’s expertise can supplement existing programs.
- Strengthen the identification of trends and protection problems in order to advocate more effectively for systemic policy change that supports children’s best interests.
- Coordinate with KIND’s U.S. field offices and family separation team to ensure continuity of representation where possible.
- In cases where KIND is not in a position to represent an unaccompanied child, work with Legal Programs team colleagues to refer the case to other service providers.
- Conduct 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.
- Help ensure cross-component collaboration with KIND’s International team and other colleagues within KIND’s Mexico program.
- Attend meetings, conferences, and other events as a representative of KIND.
- Ensure entry of timely, accurate, and detailed case data into KIND’s case management systems and report to UNICEF as needed.
- Support funder reporting, data requests, and grant proposals.
- Contribute to overall team functioning, including joining team meetings and organization-wide calls and meetings; participating in team, office, and KIND-wide committees; and assisting with events.
- As needed, supervise Paralegals, Program Assistants, 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 admission to the bar in at least one U.S. state or territory or equivalent in Mexico.
- 2+ years of experience practicing immigration law required, including representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, removal defense, U visas and T visas, or similar protections.
- Exposure to or familiarity with Mexican immigration system and child welfare laws preferred.
- Experience working with legal staff or volunteers preferred.
- 2+ years of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, or experience working with survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma.
- Work or volunteer experience along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Latin America, or with an international organization preferred.
- Demonstrated record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills.
- 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.
- Spanish and English fluency (written and oral) required. Familiarity with Mexican and Central American legal documents and vocabulary preferred.
- Ability to work within an office environment, have regular interaction via telephone, video, and email with KIND’s national team and have regular interaction including meetings with partners and stakeholders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Work may regularly need to be performed at locations other than the KIND office, such as migrant shelters, camps, or other sites. Additional travel may also be required for conferences, retreats, or other professional development opportunities within the U.S. or Mexico.
How to apply
Applications, including a cover letter, resume, salary requirements, writing sample and contact information for three professional references, should be submitted. Applications that do not contain all of the above-listed required materials will not be considered.
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.
Please apply directly on our site with this link: https://supportkind.hrmdirect.com/employment/job-opening.php?req=1660029&cust_sort1=100304&&jbsrc=1025