Staff Attorney - Asylum Defense Project

Description:
TRLA seeks a full-time staff attorney to provide critical support on an urgent, rapid response team within the Asylum Defense Project. This team provides immigration legal services to asylum-seekers arrested and charged with criminal trespass under Operation Lone Star—a state initiative that attempts to militarize the border, criminalize seeking asylum, and create a separate and unequal criminal justice system targeting migrants.

Qualifications and Preferences:
Preference will be given to applicants with an interest in providing justice to those who need it most, with strong academic credentials, who are functionally fluent in Spanish, and have an ability to establish trusting relationships with clients. Preferred applicants will also have demonstrated a commitment to immigrants’ rights and social justice and have experience working with diverse populations including non-English-speaking immigrant communities and survivors of trauma.

Duties:
All candidates should possess a sense of urgency to advocate for asylum-seekers, empathy, the ability to stay calm in crisis, and flexibility to respond to urgent client needs in an evolving legal environment. The staff attorney will work with asylum seekers arrested under Operation Lone Star under the supervision of the Project Manager. The staff attorney’s duties will include, but not be limited to, the following:
  • Develop and apply specialized knowledge of asylum law, deportation defense, and immigration procedures;
  • Provide know-your-rights presentations to asylees who are seeking relief in the United States who have been arrested for criminal trespass pursuant to Operation Lone Star;
  • Screen clients for various immigration relief eligibility and provide case specific immigration advisals;
  • Represent individuals in deportation defense which could include: advocacy for release before ICE/CBP; representation in affirmative/defensive asylum proceedings; representation of eligible individuals in T-visas or U-visas or assertion of US Citizenship claims
  • File relevant complaints to protect asylee rights;
  • Communicate with stakeholders, including US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS);
  • Collaborate with current community partners and form new partnerships;
  • Participate in community legal education;
  • Prepare educational materials, make public presentations, and participate in project outreach efforts;
  • Supervise and/or work with legal professionals and volunteers;
  • Assure compliance with grantor rules, restrictions and grant conditions;
  • Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records;
  • Prepare administrative reports;
  • Provide legal information and referrals; and
  • Fulfill all requirements necessary to remain in good standing with the State Bar and the Supreme Court of the applicable state, including but not limited to, compliance with the minimum requirements for Continuing Legal Education.

Requirements:
  • Must be licensed to practice law in Texas, able to waive into the Texas bar, or willing to take the next available bar exam;
  • Written and oral fluency in English and Spanish languages;
  • Maintain continuing legal education requirements;
  • Regular travel (1-2 days per week) within TRLA service area; and
  • Located in or willing to re-locate to San Antonio, Edinburg, Mercedes, Eagle Pass, Del Rio by January 2022 (may start remote).

Compensation and Benefits:
Salary is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent fringe benefits package including law school loan repayment. TRLA will provide reimbursement for the bar application fee and bar preparation course to new employees who have not yet taken the bar exam.

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