SIFI Lead Attorney - Alexandria, LA (LaSalle & Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center)

Job Type

Full Time




United States



The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides high-quality, pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States. By ensuring that skilled attorneys are available to protect detained immigrants’ due process rights, SIFI endeavors to win every meritorious deportation defense and release case arising out of Trump-era immigration enforcement actions.             

SIFI currently provides legal representation in release (bond, parole, and habeas corpus), deportation defense, and civil rights cases to immigrants imprisoned at the five largest and most isolated detention centers in the Southeast: the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA; the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA; the Folkston Detention Center in Folkston, GA; the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, LA, and the Pine Prairie Detention Center in Pine Prairie, LA. SIFI’s four offices are in or near the towns where the detention centers are located. Each office has a Lead Attorney, two or three full-time Direct Services Attorneys and one or two Project Coordinators. Pro bono attorneys, law students, and volunteer interpreters regularly join the SIFI on-the-ground teams for week-long shifts to expand SIFI’s legal representation, focusing on release cases but also including immigration merits cases, high impact advocacy, and individualized advocacy. 

SIFI was developed and is directed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). SIFI is part of SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project practice group, which works to protect the rights of immigrants and their children to ensure they are treated with dignity and fairness. Innovation Law Lab and the Immigration Justice Campaign—an initiative of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council, and the American Immigrant Representation Project—are collaborating with SIFI to provide technical assistance and to expand pro bono support.

The SIFI Lead Attorney in Alexandria, LA manages weekly pro bono attorneys, other volunteers, and the full-time on-the-ground Direct Services Attorney(s) and Project Coordinator to provide the highest quality legal representation to individuals detained in the LaSalle Detention Center and the Pine Prairie Detention Center. The SIFI Lead Attorney coordinates the legal strategies for SIFI clients and is primarily responsible for devising (in collaboration with the SIFI team) the optimal pathway for victory in each SIFI case. This includes identifying eligibility for any defense against removal; eligibility for release through bond, parole, habeas corpus, or other claims; and potential litigation and other advocacy involving issues such as law enforcement misconduct during enforcement actions, procedural due process violations in immigration court proceedings, and conditions of confinement. Both directly and through volunteer attorneys, the SIFI Lead Attorney provides legal advice and representation to SIFI clients in accordance with the best practices and rules of conduct of the profession, provides guidance to attorneys throughout SPLC’s Legal Department, directly engages in litigation and other advocacy efforts arising out of SIFI’s detention center-based representation, and participates in program management and government liaison meetings.

Primary Job Functions:

  • Works with local staff and SIFI organizational partners to run the operations of the project in Alexandria, LA, in accordance with SPLC’s practices and procedures;
  • Trains, manages, and mentors SIFI local staff;
  • Based on SIFI case selection criteria, thoroughly screens volunteers’ intakes for defenses against deportation, bond and parole eligibility, and other potential legal claims and advocacy;
  • Oversees development of release strategies for bond, parole, and habeas-eligible clients;
  • Engages in quality control for bond and parole submissions, including reviewing and editing filings;
  • Develops, in collaboration with pro bono attorneys, the SIFI legal team, and others as necessary, the optimal pathway to victory for SIFI clients;
  • Develops, in conjunction with other SPLC attorneys and pro bono partners, legal strategies to address facility- and immigration court-centered issues such as access to courts and counsel, due process violations, conditions of confinement, and prolonged detention;
  • Develops the factual record, refers cases and clients, provides on-the-ground support to SPLC attorneys and pro bono partners, and potentially serves as counsel of record in litigation involving issues such as Fourth Amendment violations and other law enforcement misconduct, access to courts and counsel, conditions of confinement, and prolonged detention;
  • Communicates with government stakeholders—including the federal immigration agencies such as the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—related to SIFI clients, operations, and broader SPLC advocacy.
  • Collaborates deeply with offsite SIFI attorneys, pro bono attorneys, and related partners to maximize the success of merits cases;
  • Represents clients in certain merits cases;
  • Oversees volunteer management and assesses volunteer skill each week to ensure best possible volunteer experience;
  • Communicates regularly with Immigrant Justice Project (including all of SIFI) and other SPLC practice group organizational leadership about casework, other advocacy, and program management;
  • Represent SPLC in various fora, potentially including the press and community groups around the Pine Prairie, Alexandria, and Jena area;
  • Ensures that all staff and volunteers meet the highest standards of ethics and professionalism; and
  • Other functions necessary to ensure successful completion of the project.

Qualifications –

Education and related work experience:

  • JD from an accredited university;
  • Membership in good standing in the bar of any state and/or the District of Columbia;
  • Knowledge of the impacts of immigration detention on detained individuals and their families and communities;
  • Understanding of the deportation machine in the context of the current political climate, the expansion of hate and extremist groups, and impacts of U.S. foreign policy on transnational migration;
  • Experience with large case and/or volunteer management databases;
  • Demonstrated expertise in immigration law, particularly pertaining to custody and removal defense;
  • Advanced ability, shown through litigation and other legal experience, to develop case strategies, manage complex cases, oversee and mentor case teams, and collaborate with co-counsel;
  • Excellent legal research, writing, and editing skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to multi-task;
  • Demonstrated enjoyment of decidedly unglamorous programmatic work and understanding of how that work is critically important to the struggle for immigrant rights and the larger civil rights movement;
  • Demonstrated dedication to and experience working with low-income, immigrant clients;
  • Experience managing individuals and program operations;
  • Experience training and mentoring attorneys and other legal professionals;
  • Sufficient proficiency in written and spoken Spanish to understand and communicate accurately with Spanish-speaking clients;
  • Willingness to spend considerable time meeting with detained individuals in the rural Deep South;
  • Willingness to live in Alexandria, LA or another community in the region;
  • Demonstrated excellent organizational skills and time management;
  • Demonstrated ability to do difficult and often draining work while maintaining emotional balance, being a supportive colleague, having fun at times, and clinging to a long-term optimistic vision of how our work will make the world a better place;
  • Humility, kindness, humor, emotional intelligence, and the other kind of intelligence;
  • Ability to listen to critical feedback and make adjustments in response to that feedback;
  • Ability to provide sincere and meaningful positive feedback, and to provide critical feedback in a constructive manner;
  • Commitment to working long hours;
  • Willingness to spend considerable time traveling in the rural Deep South and to appreciate the many wonderful things about life in the Deep South while remaining aware of the enormous challenges many people in the Deep South face;
  • Valid driver’s license; and
  • Commitment to working long hours. 


  • While Spanish proficiency is required, proficiency in Creole/French/Arabic/Hindi/Urdu and other languages will strengthen the application; and
  • Experience working within volunteer-based projects preferred. 

To Apply:

Along with a resume, please submit a legal writing sample relating to immigration law, a cover letter, and three references. 

Other Special Considerations:

This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.


The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.

An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.

Level of Language Proficiency

While Spanish proficiency is required, proficiency in Creole/French/Arabic/Hindi/Urdu and other languages will strengthen the application.

Professional Level

Entry level

Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

To Apply:

Along with a resume, please submit a legal writing sample relating to immigration law, a cover letter, and three references. 

For immediate consideration, please apply using the following link: