Family Detention - Staff Attorney

San Antonio, Texas, United States Full-time

Staff Attorney – Family Detention Program

(San Antonio, Texas)

RAICES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit legal services agency that promotes justice by providing immigration legal services, education, and advocacy to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas. RAICES’ Family Detention Program coordinates the Karnes Pro Bono Project which provides these services to individuals detained at the Karnes County Residential Center. The Karnes detention center historically detained migrant families who were primarily asylum-seekers, but currently detains single adult women apprehended at the border and within the interior of the United States.

We seek a full time bilingual legal assistant to join the Program’s legal team in providing services at the detention center. This position is based in San Antonio, Texas.

Program Mission: To empower and defend migrant families and to advocate for the abolition of immigrant detention through education, legal representation, and advocacy.

Program Vision: We, the Family Detention Program team, envision a compassionate and cooperative community that advocates for and alongside migrants to protect human dignity and promote human rights.

Responsibilities: This staff attorney's primary responsibilities are: 

  • Provide pro se assistance and direct legal representation to immigrant families and individuals detained at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas;
  • Regular travel to the Karnes County Residential Center;
  • Conduct thorough intakes, prepare families for credible and reasonable fear interviews, represent families in immigration court and before the Asylum Office;
  • Screen clients for persecution, trafficking, and torture utilizing trauma-informed approaches to provide services and support to clients;
  • Identify outlier cases and follow up regarding next steps with supervisor;
  • Participate in advocacy and litigation efforts to end immigrant detention; 
  • Responsible for individual case load, including detailed case management, research, and writing;
  • Serve as lead attorney at Karnes for staff and volunteer group;
  • Communicate with government agencies and contractors to facilitate the provision of legal services at Karnes;
  • Provide legal services to recently released families and those residing in the jurisdiction of the San Antonio Immigration Court as needed; 
  • Assume general administrative responsibilities, including timekeeping, training new colleagues, and other tasks related to project compliance; and other duties, activities, and responsibilities, as assigned. 

Qualifications: Eligible applicants will satisfy each of the following criteria: 

  • Possess Juris Doctorate and be licensed in any state or the District of Columbia; 
  • Fluency in English and Spanish (written and verbal);
  • Must be aligned with the program mission and vision;
  • Ability to handle multiple projects, work independently with minimal supervision, be a self-starter, think critically in fast-paced situations, and be well-organized;
  • Must be a team player who prioritizes collective success and works in solidarity with colleagues and clients;
  • Ability to adapt and be flexible in a changing work environment;
  • Must demonstrate good judgment and effective communication with clients, colleagues, and government employees;
  • Excellent organizational skills and proficiency in the use of technology; and
  • Experience in immigration law preferred; 
  • Experience working with children is a plus; and
  • Court experience is preferred. 

Terms of Employment & Office Expectations:

  • The organization’s office hours are 8:30 - 5:30, Monday-Friday with weekend work as needed. However, staff working with the family detention team will exceed these hours when at Karnes.  Attorneys may work partial office hours of 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 pm on non-Karnes days. Staff are periodically scheduled for a work week away from Karnes, during which time they will work 8:30-5:30 at the office.  
  • Attorneys working in excess of 40 hours per week may be eligible to accrue personal time off; 
  • Travel required to the detention center, court, and other offices as needed, and applicant must possess and use his or her own vehicle and automobile insurance and have a valid drivers’ license;
  • References will be called and reviewed, and past employers may be called.  Current employer may be called with the consent of the applicant;
  • Optional medical, vision, dental, and disability insurance;
  • Generous paid leave.
  • Offer is contingent upon government clearance for admittance to Karnes Detention Facility.

Background Check:

This position may require completion of the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) check, as well as state criminal background checks.  Presence on the National Sex Offender Public Website is a bar to service. Other criminal history does not necessarily disqualify you from employment.