KIND seeks a Staff Attorney for KIND’S Mexico Initiative, which will engage in cross-border efforts to provide unaccompanied children with initial legal orientations, protection screenings, and options counseling in collaboration with civil society and government-run shelters for unaccompanied children. Based in Ciudad Juárez, México, the Staff Attorney works alongside a Managing Attorney and Program Coordinator and will focus primarily on identification, screenings and intake, options counseling, and know-your-rights orientations to unaccompanied children.
The Staff Attorney helps build engagement and coordination with local coalitions of service providers. S/he may plan and assist in overseeing the activities of bono attorneys and other volunteers deployed to the border to assist in protecting the rights of unaccompanied children attempting to access protection. This position is housed in KIND’s Legal Strategy and Special Programs (SSP) team and reports into the Managing Attorney.
The Staff Attorney supervises Paralegals, Program Assistants, Program Coordinators, interns, and/or other non-legal staff.
- Ensures that unaccompanied children residing in shelters and other facilities in Mexico have access to know-your-rights orientations.
- Ensures 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.
- Builds 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.
- Undertakes direct legal counsel functions, including: legal research and formulating the legal strategy for individual cases; conducting client interviews; and appearing before immigration agencies, as needed.
- Monitors treatment of unaccompanied Mexican children and compliance with their rights under U.S. law, advocating where possible for full access to protection under U.S. law.
- Attends meetings, conferences, and other events as a representative of KIND.
- Documents conditions of care, access to counsel and other activities affecting unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border, as needed.
- Coordinates with KIND’s U.S. field offices to ensure continuity of representation where possible.
- In cases where KIND is not in a position to represent an unaccompanied child, work with the Program Coordinator and KIND’s Senior Director for Pro Bono Partnerships and other Legal Services team colleagues to refer the case to other service providers.
- Conducts 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.
- Helps ensure cross-component collaboration with KIND’s Policy and Advocacy and Communications teams and Regional team.
- Ensures entry of timely, accurate, and detailed case data into KIND’s case management systems.
- Support reporting and grant proposals, as needed.
- Supervises Paralegals, Program Assistants, Program Coordinators, interns, and/or other non-legal staff, as necessary.
Qualifications and Requirements:
- Juris Doctor or equivalent from accredited U.S. or Mexican law school and admission to the bar in at least one U.S. state or territory and/or Mexico (cédula profesional or equivalent); US LLM strongly preferred.
- Fluency in Spanish (oral and written) required.
- At least two (2) years of experience practicing US immigration law required, including representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas and T visas, or similar protections under Mexican law.
- Experience working with legal staff or volunteers preferred.
- A minimum of two (2) years of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, or experience working with survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma.
- Exposure to or familiarity with Mexican immigration system and child welfare laws preferred.
- A strong record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills. Experience communicating with Mexico- or Latin-America-based officials and NGO partners preferred;
- 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.
- Ability to travel frequently between U.S. and Mexico for conferences, retreats, or other professional development opportunities.
- Ability to be flexible and adapt to frequently-changing circumstances, policies, and conditions affecting this dynamic work.
- Familiarity with Mexican and Central American legal documents and vocabulary highly preferred.
Physical Demands and Work Environment:
- Ability to work within an office environment, have regular interaction via telephone, video, and email with KIND’s national team and have regular interaction including meetings with partners and stakeholders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Please be advised that a resume, cover letter and writing sample will need to be submitted along with your application in order to be considered for the desired role.
KIND is an EOE committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in both its staff and work. The selected applicant will be asked to undergo a background check before acceptance of the final offer.
About the Organization
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 provided over 19,000 children with high quality representation in their immigration proceedings by training more than 41,000 attorneys and cultivating partnerships with over 600 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 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.