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. Since 2008, 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.
KIND seeks a Supervising Attorney to assist in the management and delivery of legal services to unaccompanied children and families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Through partnerships with UNHCR and UNICEF, the Supervising Attorney will work to protect the rights of unaccompanied children in Northern Mexico, and work to prevent and mitigate family separation. This position will be housed in KIND’s Legal Strategy and Special Programs (SSP) team and will report to the Managing Attorney. This position can be based in San Diego, CA, El Paso, TX, or the Rio Grande Valley, TX and will require periodic travel into Mexico.
The Supervising Attorney will work closely with the Managing Attorney, Staff Attorneys, Social Services Coordinator and UNHCR, UNICEF and NGO contacts to identify children and families in need of KIND’s services and conduct screenings, counsel children and families, and provide know-your-rights orientations. The attorney will provide consultations to UCs, family groups facing possible family separation, work to prevent family separation, and help facilitate reunification. The attorney will also represent children previously subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and other border policies through immigration representation in complex cases. The Supervising Attorney will directly supervise a team of attorneys and legal professionals, including paralegals and program coordinators, carrying out this work.
- Ensure that family groups and unaccompanied children have access to options, counseling, and representation to prevent or mitigate family separation at the U.S. southern border while advocating to preserve the child’s TVPRA protections, where possible.
- Receive referrals from, and coordinate with, counterparts at UNHCR and 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.
- Provide direct legal representation to KIND clients, performing ordinary functions of legal counsel including legal research and formulating the legal strategy for the case, including cases involving MPP proceedings; conducting client interviews; appearing before immigration and/or state courts or agencies; and drafting and filing court pleadings and applications for benefits.
- Supervise and lead program staff in two other locations along the U.S. southern border, in consultation with the Managing Attorney, including:
- Program oversight, supervising casework, managing caseloads and other assignments, promoting, and advising supervisees on professional growth, conducting employee performance evaluations, meeting regularly with each supervisee, and providing consistent and effective supervision to ensure high-quality legal work and achievement of deliverables.
- 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.
- Support the Managing Attorney to develop and implement management strategies to meet ambitious programmatic and funding deliverables, including staff recruitment and development-support functions, employee engagement, and quality control of KIND’s legal services delivery.
- Oversee data management, ensuring data integrity through regular case audits, technical fluency with KIND’s case management systems, and oversight of data upkeep and accuracy by supervisees.
- In collaboration with the Managing Attorney, lead and manage complex programs, including oversight and drafting of grant reports, metrics oversight, and assisting in drafting of funding proposals as needed.
- Maintain internal and external stakeholder relations; participate in local coalitions of various stakeholders supporting unaccompanied children and families at the border.
- Collaborate with other KIND departments on specific projects and initiatives as needed, including KIND’s Policy, Advocacy, Communications, and International departments.
- Participate in and lead local and national KIND meetings, committees, retreats, and events.
Qualifications and Requirements:
- J.D. and admitted to any U.S. state bar.
- Advanced fluency in Spanish language.
- 6-8 years of experience practicing immigration or a related area of law, which should include representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas, and T visas.
- 4-6 years of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, and/or working with survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma.
- Experience working with law firm attorneys and or other legal volunteers.
- 3+ years of experience supervising attorneys and non-attorney staff.
- 2+ years of experience in program management, including experience such as project management, tracking deliverables, hiring, planning and development.
- Work or volunteer experience along the U.S.-Mexico border, in Latin America, or with an international organization highly preferred.
- Familiarity with Mexican and Central American legal documents and vocabulary highly preferred.
- Strong record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills.
- Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and persuasively both orally and in writing.
- Demonstrated collaboration, deep engagement, and contributor to overall team; 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.
Please be advised that an employment application will need to be submitted along with your resume and cover letter, in order to be considered for the desired role.
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.