The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights invites applications for Staff Attorney, to be based in Phoenix. This attorney will be hired as part of the Young Center’s Immigrant Child and Family Rights Project, to work on cases involving the separation of immigrant children from their parents by U.S. immigration authorities and other cases where children face prolonged separation from family. The Staff Attorney will be appointed as the independent Child Advocate in some of these cases and will supervise volunteers appointed as Child Advocates for unaccompanied immigrant children who have been separated from their parents or family and are in federal custody in the Phoenix area. In addition, the Staff Attorney will work with the Young Center’s Policy Director and Policy Associate to conduct policy advocacy around family separations.
The Young Center is a children’s rights organization 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 for vulnerable, unaccompanied children. Our role is to identify and advocate for the best interests of children in federal custody, applying federal and state law and long-recognized principles of the best interests of the child. Young Center Child Advocates do not act in the capacity of immigration attorney; when a child has an immigration attorney, that attorney represents the child’s legal (stated) interests, while the Child Advocate submits recommendations as to the child’s best interests. In the last year, we have been appointed to an increasing number of children who arrived at the U.S. border with their parents but who were separated by immigration authorities. We created the Immigrant Child and Family Rights Project to respond to these cases, and other cases where children face prolonged separation from family.
The Young Center has programs in eight cities across the United States including San Antonio, Harlingen, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, Houston, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Our team is a passionate and interdisciplinary group of professionals—attorneys, social workers, volunteer coordinators and administrative staff—committed to ensuring that immigrant children are recognized as children, first and foremost, and receive the full protection they deserve under the law, even though they’re caught in an immigration system that often views them as adults-in-miniature.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. The Staff Attorney’s primary responsibilities will be:
Serve as Child Advocate and supervise volunteers appointed as Child Advocate for unaccompanied and separated children in federal custody
Advance cases by gathering information about each child’s life from the child, family members and agencies with relevant information.
Apply a child’s-rights paradigm to identify and advocate for the best interests of these unaccompanied children with each federal agency with authority over the child, including shelter officials, the custodial agency (within the federal Department of Health and Human Services), immigration judges, asylum officers, immigration attorneys, and state court judges, when applicable.
Prepare written best interests recommendations applying federal, state and international law.
Develop relationships and coordinate with stakeholders serving unaccompanied children in the Phoenix area.
Train and supervise volunteer Child Advocates in the Phoenix area.
Help develop strategies for family separation cases t across all Young Center offices
Engage in local and regional advocacy on the issue of family separation, in collaboration with the Policy Director and Policy Associate
Gather and analyze data from the Young Center cases to inform policy briefs and media outreach
Participate in coalitions working on family separation issues
Assist with other program responsibilities as assigned
J.D. and authorization to practice law.
Proficiency in Spanish, including the ability to speak with children in Spanish and communicate over the telephone in Spanish with children, family members and others.
A car, valid driver’s license, and insurance are required for travel to Phoenix area facilities.
Excellent written and oral advocacy skills.
Ability to take initiative, and to work independently and collaboratively.
Enthusiasm for working with volunteers.
Passion, tenacity and optimism for the issues affecting immigrant children and their families.
At least two years of experience practicing law, ideally in the fields of child welfare, juvenile justice or immigration.
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.
Job offer is conditioned on clearance of fingerprint criminal background check, child abuse and neglect check (CANTS) and tuberculosis test.
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.
About Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights
The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights 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.