The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights invites applications for the position of Staff Attorney in the Young Center’s Harlingen regional office. The Young Center is dedicated to promoting the best interests—safety and well-being—of unaccompanied and separated immigrant children in the United States. The immediate focus of the Young Center’s work is to serve as Child Advocate (best interests guardian ad litem in immigration proceedings) for unaccompanied and separated children pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and the 2013 Violence Against Women Act. The Young Center is at the forefront of best interests advocacy for unaccompanied immigrant children and is the only organization in the country serving as Child Advocate for detained, unaccompanied children pursuant to the TVPRA.
The Staff Attorney position is a unique opportunity for an attorney to engage in written and oral advocacy on behalf of children in removal proceedings. The Staff Attorney will draft and submit best interests recommendations in immigration court, before asylum offices, to public interest attorneys, to the pro bono bar, and to the three federal agencies (DHS, HHS and DOJ) with responsibility for unaccompanied children in the United States. In Harlingen, the Staff Attorney will work directly with detained children and children released to families or sponsors, to advocate for their best interests with respect to their custody, conditions of release, and their immigration proceedings. The Staff Attorney will help recruit, train and supervise bilingual and bicultural volunteer Child Advocates—teachers, law students, social workers, community members—who will work one-on-one with children. The Young Center team is a passionate and collegial group of professionals—attorneys, social workers, and administrative staff—committed to ensuring that children receive the full protection of federal immigration law, domestic child welfare law and international human rights law.
Duties and Responsibilities: The Staff Attorney’s primary responsibilities will be to:
- Help recruit, train and supervise volunteer Child Advocates for the Young Center Child Advocate program serving children in the Harlingen area.
- Draft and submit best interests briefs to immigration judges, asylum officers, attorneys, and federal agencies, applying federal, state and international law.
- Accompany children and their Child Advocates to immigration court, as well as state juvenile and family court.
- Develop relationships and coordinate with stakeholders serving unaccompanied children in the Harlingen area.
- Assist with monthly reporting and other administrative responsibilities as necessary connected with the day-to-day operations of the Young Center’s Harlingen office.
- J.D. and appropriate authorization to practice law.
- Proficiency in Spanish, including the ability to speak with children in Spanish and to communicate over the telephone in Spanish with children, family members, and others.
- Excellent written and oral advocacy skills.
- Ability to take initiative, to work collaboratively, and an enthusiasm for working with volunteers.
- Passion, tenacity and optimism for the issues affecting immigrant children and their families.
- A driver’s license and car for traveling to shelter facilities in Texas
- At least one year of experience practicing law.
Physical Demands: Physical demands include regular attendance; keyboarding; sitting for long periods (at least 5 hours a day); driving. Ability to use computer, telephone, and copy machine. Ability to travel by plane, car and other conveyances within U.S.
The Young Center is an "at-will" and equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and actively seeks a diverse applicant pool. Young Center encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, or veterans’ status. Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.
Job offer is conditioned on clearance of fingerprint criminal background check, child abuse and neglect check (CANTS) and tuberculosis test.
Salary is commensurate with experience. The Young Center provides excellent benefits including health/dental/vision insurance, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave.
Level of Language Proficiency
Proficiency in Spanish
Minimum Education Required
How To Apply
Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Please apply through our website at theyoungcenter.org/careers, including a cover letter, resume, three references and a writing sample. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.