Staff Attorney At Kids in Need of Defense

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. 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 670 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 envisions a world in which children’s rights and well-being are protected as they migrate alone in search of safety. In advancing this vision, KIND launched a transnational program in 2020 to promote the rights and protection of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents from or migrating through Mexico and at the U.S.-Mexico border in collaboration with civil society and government.

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 seeks a Staff Attorney to help orient and counsel family units and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border, to prevent and mitigate family separation. This position will work in close collaboration with UNHCR. Based in San Diego, with periodic travel to Tijuana, Mexico, this position will be housed in KIND’s Legal Strategy and Special Programs (SSP) team and will report to a Senior Attorney.

The Staff Attorney will work closely with the Senior Attorney, Managing Attorney, Social Services Coordinator and UNHCR 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 consultations to family groups and UCs facing possible family separation, work to prevent family separation, and mitigate the impact of family separation and help facilitate reunification should separation occur. The attorney will also represent children previously subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and other border policies through immigration representation in complex cases.

Essential Functions:

  • Ensure that family groups and unaccompanied children have access to options, counseling, and representation to prevent or mitigate family separation, while advocating to preserve the child’s TVPRA protections, where possible.
  • Receive referrals from, and coordinate with, counterparts at UNHCR 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, including cases involving MPP proceedings; conducting client interviews; filing motions and pleadings, and appearing before immigration agencies as needed.
  • Provide 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.
  • Build 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.
  • Strengthen the identification of trends and protection problems in order to advocate more effectively for systemic policy change that reduces the incidence of family separation overall.
  • 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, including presentations on preventing family separations.
  • Help ensure cross-component collaboration with KIND’s Policy and Advocacy and Communications teams and Regional team.
  • 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 UNHCR 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 interactions, 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 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 online. 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:

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