Staff Attorney, Immigrant Justice Project

Req No.
Regular Full-Time


The Immigrant Justice Project (IJP) of the Southern Poverty Law Center works to protect the rights of immigrants and their children to ensure they are treated with fairness and respect for their dignity. Our work is focused in three main areas: (1) defending against unfair deportation practices; (2) protecting immigrant workers from exploitation and (3) defending the civil rights of immigrants. In recent years, we have ended discriminatory practices that reduced immigrants’ access to driver’s licenses in Georgia and to register to vote in Louisiana. We have won millions of dollars in stolen wages and other compensation to migrant workers in states such as South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi.


As part of IJP, this spring we launched the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (“SIFI”), an ambitious project to provide free legal representation to immigrants detained in southeastern detention centers. By ensuring that skilled attorneys are available, at no charge, to protect the due process rights of detained immigrants, SIFI endeavors to win every meritorious deportation defense case arising out of immigration enforcement actions. In addition to winning immigration cases for our clients, SIFI’s goals include public education that demystifies who immigrants are; challenging the deportation machine; and shutting down detention centers that cannot meet the basic constitutional requirements appropriate for civil adjudications. SIFI began at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, in collaboration with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Immigration Council, the Innovation Law Lab and the American Immigration Representation Project. It has since expanded to the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia and the LaSalle ICE Processing Center in Jena, Louisiana. In January, SIFI will expand to the Folkston ICE Processing Center in Folkston, Georgia.


IJP is seeking a Staff Attorney to focus predominately on litigation and other advocacy arising out of SIFI and to assist with some aspects of SIFI operations. The Staff Attorney will spend approximately two-thirds of her or his time on SIFI litigation, advocacy, and operations, and one-third on other IJP litigation and advocacy. A commitment to IJP’s goals, in addition to the ability to work long hours, including some weekends, is required.


SIFI Litigation, Advocacy, and Operations 

  • Investigate government agencies and private actors engaged in immigrant detention in the Deep South by preparing requests for information under state and federal open records laws, and, as needed, traveling to SIFI sites in Jena, LA and Lumpkin, Ocilla, and Folkston, GA;
  • Assist the SIFI Advocacy Attorney in the development and implementation of client data collection strategies to maximize systemic advocacy opportunities, in collaboration with national partners, SIFI leadership, and data specialists;
  • Under the supervision of SIFI leadership, research potential legal challenges to practices within the immigration enforcement, detention, and deportation machine in the Deep South, including: civil rights violations during raids and other enforcement actions, labor conditions in immigrant detention, due process violations involving the right to counsel and immigration court practices, language access, prolonged detention, expedited removal, bias by Immigration Judges, and other issues;
  • In conjunction with other IJP attorneys, represent clients in federal litigation arising out of SIFI by researching discrete legal issues, drafting pleadings and briefs, participating in discovery, and appearing in court. This may include litigation of habeas corpus cases on behalf of detained immigrants;
  • Research and prepare model court filings for Immigration Courts, including pro se templates;
  • Under the supervision of SIFI leadership, coordinate certain programmatic activities such as staff meetings, communications with stakeholders, and communications with volunteers;
  • Engage in individual representation of detained immigrants in certain strategic cases and,
  • Other duties that may be assigned to meet SPLC needs.


Other IJP Litigation and Advocacy 

  • Represent immigrant clients in litigation and other advocacy involving workers’ rights and civil rights (including police abuse, education rights, and challenges to anti-immigrant laws and policies) and,
  • Represent SPLC in various fora, including before national advocacy organizations and community groups.


Education and Related Work Experience:

  • JD from accredited university;
  • Membership in good standing in the Georgia bar or willingness to sit for the next bar exam if waiving in is not an option;
  • Bi-lingual, English/Spanish, Haitian Creole, or Arabic (conversational, speaking and writing) preferred;
  • 2-5 years of experience with federal impact litigation and/or removal defense preferred;
  • Excellent research and writing skills and,
  • Quantitative analytical skills preferred  

Knowledge, skills and abilities: 

  • Creativity and a demonstrated willingness to take calculated risks in crafting and executing strategies;
  • Initiative, vision, and a strong commitment to the struggle for social justice;
  • Ability to prioritize responsibilities and have fun in a high-energy, fast paced work environment;
  • Excellent and consistent attention-to-detail and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines and,
  • Aptitude for and willingness to be a team player 

To Apply:

  • Along with a resume, please submit a 5 page writing sample, a cover letter, three references, and unofficial transcript.  Preference given to applications received by 12/29/17. 

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.


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