Social Worker, Immigration Practice

Posted by

The Bronx Defenders

Published 24 days ago

$64,350 - $83,500

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks a social worker with a commitment to immigrants’ rights to work with our New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) detained removal defense program. 


The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal system, and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself. BxD seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic individuals with a strong commitment to social justice to join our dynamic and diverse staff. Our staff of over 400 includes interdisciplinary teams made up of criminal, civil, immigration, and family defense attorneys, as well as social workers, benefits specialists, legal advocates, parent advocates, investigators, and team administrators, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated team-based structure, we have pioneered a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for our clients. 


Each year, we defend more than 20,000 low-income Bronx residents in criminal, civil, child welfare, and immigration cases, and reach thousands more through our community intake, youth mentoring, and outreach programs. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing, we push for systemic reform at the local, state, and national levels. We take what we learn from the clients and communities that we serve and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change.

 Immigration Practice Overview

The Bronx Defenders pioneered the model of integrated criminal defense and immigration representation over fifteen years ago. Immigration attorneys work closely with clients and their advocates throughout the pendency of their cases in both Criminal and Family Court to avoid or mitigate negative immigration consequences. Additionally, the immigration staff at The Bronx Defenders represent clients in deportation proceedings in both detained and non-detained settings, provide affirmative immigration services, and pursue community-based systemic reform litigation and advocacy aimed at reforming unforgiving federal immigration laws. Since 2013, our immigration attorneys have also served as assigned counsel at the Varick Street Immigration Court under the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), the first-ever universal representation project in immigration court. The Immigration Practice consists of over fifty staff members including attorneys, social workers, legal advocates and administrators. 


Strategizing with lawyers and other advocates, advocates in the Social Work Practice at The Bronx Defenders assist clients with issues that precipitate and are exacerbated by contact with legal systems. Social workers are responsible for assisting with advocacy on behalf of clients, including preparing written work, coordinating work with treatment programs and social service providers, and supporting clients as they navigate their case(s).  

  • Work collaboratively with clients, lawyers and other advocates on multidisciplinary holistic defense teams to achieve clients’ stated legal goals
  • Interview and assess clients to identify strengths, resources and needs
  • Conduct supportive counseling, crisis intervention and case management services for Immigration Practice clients throughout the pendency of their legal cases
  • Compile written psycho-social assessments, release plans and/or collections of social science research for submission to the immigration courts or USCIS
  • Assist with review of behavioral health and other records, and liaise with external mental health experts to conduct evaluations of Immigration Practice clients 
  • Visit clients in detention in ICE facilities in New Jersey and New York State and attend court hearings in both the detained and non-detained immigration courts in lower Manhattan
  • Advocate for Immigration Practice clients across immigration, criminal and family court settings 
  • Provide re-entry services to clients upon release from detention to their communities in the US and/or upon return to their countries of origin when possible 
  • Maintain records of client work in Bronx Defender’s organizational case management system 
  • Cultivate relationships with community programs and social service providers


We are specifically seeking applications from candidates with Spanish language skills and/or those from racially/ethnically marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by systemic injustice, whose lived experiences contribute to more culturally conscious client representation

To be eligible, applicants must have:


  • M.S.W. from an accredited School of Social Work; candidates with LMSW or LCSW licensure are encouraged to apply 


Applicants must demonstrate:


  • An interest in working with immigrant communities that have experienced significant trauma and systemic injustice
  • Commitment to defending non-citizens from deportation 
  • Ability to work well both independently and collaboratively with lawyers, non-lawyers, and external service providers 
  • Experience working in and with racially and ethnically marginalized communities targeted by systemic injustice
  • Excellent research, writing, and oral advocacy skills
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate, and connect with people from various backgrounds, identities, and experiences 
  • Excellent organization and time management skills
  • Ability to think critically and creatively under pressure
  • Ability to receive feedback constructively, reflect, and shift behavior accordingly
  • Meticulous attention to detail 
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues
  • Knowledge of substance use, domestic violence, mental health systems
  • Experience representing clients on immigration, criminal, or family defense teams preferred 
  • Experience conducting psychosocial assessments and offering supportive counseling preferred 
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level
  • Excellent judgment in zealous advocacy and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of clients


Salary is commensurate with experience. For candidates with 1-10 years of directly relevant experience, the salary range for this position would be approximately $64,350 to $83,500. Full-time employees are also eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with employer contribution; a generous vacation, sick leave, and parental leave policy; and a professional development fund. More specific information about salary and benefits will be provided when and if an offer is extended.  

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks a social worker with a commitment to immigrants’ rights to work with our New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) detained…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • Master's Degree Required


360 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451

How to Apply

To apply, please visit our career portal at the link above, select the position of interest, click APPLY FOR THIS JOB ONLINE and upload a cover letter and resume in one document when prompted. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. 

The application deadline is January 1, 2021, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.

Please contact Caitlin Becker, Managing Director of Social Work, via email at with any questions regarding the position.


The Bronx Defenders is an equal opportunity employer and is cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We acknowledge the ways in which systemic oppression and injustice can undermine access to professional opportunities and are committed to conducting hiring and promotion processes that are equitable and accessible to those commonly excluded from the workforce. We do not discriminate against and in fact specifically encourage applicants from marginalized communities to apply, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, disabled, neurodivergent, and those directly impacted by criminal, civil, family and immigration legal systems. We value lived as well as professional experience and particularly welcome applications from the Bronx community that we serve. 

To apply, please visit our career portal at the link above, select the position of interest, click APPLY FOR THIS JOB ONLINE and upload a cover letter and resume in one document when…

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