Immigrant Right Staff Attorney

Full Time
New Orleans, LA 70112
Posted 30+ days ago
Job description

Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney

American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana


The ACLU of Louisiana is looking for a full-time Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney to spearhead our decarceration detention work at all of Louisiana’s operating immigration jails.

The Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney will be on the road monthly, traveling to detention centers to advance the affiliate’s decarceration efforts in the immigration detention space. The attorney will, on average, spend one full week every month, in Alexandria, Louisiana. For that week, the attorney, along with coalition partners and potentially two fellows, will daily visit immigration jails. During those visits, the attorney, along with coalition partners, will present information to those detained, hold large group Q&A sessions, and meet with individuals one-on-one. Separate and apart from these visits, which involve extensive preparation and follow-up as it relates to direct representation, parole and medical advocacy, the attorney will be responsible for preparing and attending quarterly stakeholder tours of all operating immigration jails and monthly stakeholder meetings.

Equally as important, the attorney will attend and participate in multiple calls with coalition partners in the immigrants’ rights space, in addition to calls and meetings hosted by the National ACLU and its Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP). As communications strategy is critical to this space, the ideal candidate will welcome and be expected to work closely with our communications department, including by providing insight about the reality on the ground and liaising with coalition partners and other experts in the field.

The Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney will collaborate closely with the entire legal team, the advocacy director, and the communications director. The attorney will be a strategic thinker who is comfortable working closely with directly impacted people, community groups and organizations, and stakeholders.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana (ACLU-LA) seeks a leader who enjoys working in a fast-paced environment to join our dynamic team.

Reporting to the Legal Director, the Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney, will be accountable for performing duties that include:

On-Site Detention Work and Data Collection

  • Traveling with coalition partners for one week out of every month to detention centers surrounding the Alexandria, Louisiana area, and writing an internal report after each trip to highlight critical issues that should be raised at monthly stakeholder meetings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Supervising program coordination of immigration jail trips, including (i) coordinating with ICE and DHS to set up monthly legal presentation visits, quarterly stakeholder tours, and monthly stakeholder meetings; (ii) preparing, editing and finalizing trip materials including presentations scripts, resource sheets, intake sheets, pro se habeas packets, and pro se parole packets, and (iii) conducting necessary medical, parole and case round follow-up with those who are detained, including updating Qualtrics database and collaborating on any necessary internal or external reports with coalition partners.
  • Building a rapport and relationships with coalition partners, those detained, and those who manage and administer the facilities at issue.

Coalition Building and Systemic Litigation Support

  • Attending and contributing to multiple bi-monthly and monthly calls with DHS and coalition partners, including legal subgroups working on broader litigation goals and strategies.
  • Staffing monthly calls with IRP and working in collaboration with IRP on investigations and, as the need arises, litigation in Louisiana and elsewhere, provided such litigation relates to those detained in Louisiana.

Decarceration Work

  • Using the corporate volunteer intake model developed as part of the affiliate’s policing work to liaise with corporate volunteers on submitting parole applications on behalf of people in detention, and hosting office hours every other month to troubleshoot questions and issues presented by volunteers. This responsibility will also include developing a system to track parole applications and outcomes.

  • Supervising two immigration fellows with limited or no experience practicing law in federal trial courts, immigration courts, the board of immigration appeals (BIA), and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—and working with each of them over the span of two years to individually open and close 65 direct-services cases. For the avoidance of doubt, the goal at the end of the fellows’ two-year term is for the affiliate to have opened and closed approximately 125 direct services detained removal defense cases. If supervisory experience on immigrant rights cases is lacking, developing this expertise by building and maintaining relationships with immigration law clinic professors who can provide guidance and signing up for and taking Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses in this area.

Best Practices

  • Liaising with other ACLU affiliates that run direct-services immigration detention and data collection programs.
  • Liaising with the ACLU of Louisiana communications and advocacy departments to provide insight into the scope, scale, and issues surrounding immigration detention and decarceration efforts in Louisiana.


  • J.D. and admission to any U.S. State Bar.
  • A minimum of 1-3 years of immigration litigation experience.
  • Ability and desire to supervise two legal fellows at a time.
  • Must be willing to work flexible and non-traditional hours as needed and required by the exigencies of the work.
  • Excellent research, writing, oral, advocacy, and analytical skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Ability to work independently as a member of a team, take initiative, balance competing priorities and see projects through to completion.
  • Strong self-motivation and capable of complex analytic work.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work collaboratively.
  • Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences regarding race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and socioeconomic circumstance.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and conflicts.
  • If not already a resident of New Orleans, willing to relocate to the New Orleans, Louisiana area within 45 days of hiring.

Leading applicants will have:

  • 3-5 years’ experience litigating before immigration courts, the BIA, federal trial courts and federal courts of appeals;
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of the Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS), immigration laws, and habeas corpus;
  • Fluency in a foreign language, preferably Spanish.
  • Experience working with diverse communities, clients, and coalition partners.


The ACLU of Louisiana is the local affiliate of the National ACLU. Founded in 1956 with a growing staff of twelve, we are poised for growth and expansion. The Executive Director, Alanah Odoms carries on the affiliate’s legacy of defending the Constitution, with the new charge of refracting that work through the lens of racial justice. The priorities of the ACLU of Louisiana include ending mass incarceration, defending the rights of the asylum seekers and vulnerable immigrant communities, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, preserving the right to vote, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, and the right to have an abortion.

For more information about the ACLU of Louisiana, please visit their website at


The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency, and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU 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, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail [email protected] If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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