KIDS IN NEED OF DEFENSE (KIND)
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a global leader in the protection of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children. Launched in 2008, KIND champions a world in which every child’s rights and well-being are protected throughout their journey to safety. KIND is embarking on a new initiative in Mexico to advocate for and develop regional solutions that address the particular vulnerabilities of unaccompanied migrant children seeking protection, whether in Mexico or the United States. The KIND Mexico Initiative will work across KIND’s legal, policy, and regional program departments to increase legal orientations for unaccompanied children in transit; monitor conditions for unaccompanied children seeking access to protection at the border; provide technical assistance and training to policymakers, child welfare officials, and pro bono attorneys; and work collaboratively with Mexican and Central American partners in the public and non-profit sectors to develop a strong platform for protecting the rights of unaccompanied children across the region. The program will complement KIND’s ongoing U.S. and international efforts to strengthen global migrant child protection frameworks, build capacity, and strengthen institutions assisting children as they migrate in search of safety.
The Staff Attorney for KIND’S Mexico Initiative will engage in cross-border efforts to provide unaccompanied children with initial legal orientations, protection screenings, and options counseling in collaboration with civil society and government-run shelters for unaccompanied children. Based in Ciudad Juárez, México, the Staff Attorney will work alongside a Managing Attorney and Program Coordinator and will focus primarily on identification, screenings and intake, options counseling, and know-your-rights orientations to unaccompanied children. The Staff Attorney will help build engagement and coordination with local coalitions of service providers. S/he may plan and assist in overseeing the activities of bono attorneys and other volunteers deployed to the border to assist in protecting the rights of unaccompanied children attempting to access protection. This position will be housed in KIND’s Legal Strategy and Special Programs (SSP) team and will report to the Managing Attorney.
May be responsible for one or more of the following:
- Ensure that unaccompanied children residing in shelters and other facilities in Mexico have access to know-your-rights orientations;
- Ensure that particularly vulnerable children are screened for protection needs and relief and that pertinent referrals for services are made to NGO and other partners, in addition to pursuing protection strategies;
- Build relationships across the border with other legal and community organizations supporting unaccompanied children, identifying gaps in services where KIND’s expertise can supplement existing programs;
- Undertake direct legal counsel functions, including: legal research and formulating the legal strategy for individual cases; conducting client interviews; and appearing before immigration agencies as needed;
- Monitor treatment of unaccompanied Mexican children and compliance with their rights under U.S. law, advocating where possible for full access to protection under U.S. law;
- Attend meetings, conferences, and other events as a representative of KIND;
- Document conditions of care, access to counsel and other activities affecting unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border as needed;
- Coordinate with KIND’s U.S. field offices to ensure continuity of representation where possible;
- In cases where KIND is not in a position to represent an unaccompanied child, work with the Program Coordinator and KIND’s Senior Director for Pro Bono Partnerships and other Legal Services team colleagues to refer the case to other service providers;
- Conduct presentations and trainings on U.S. law regarding unaccompanied children for a broad range of stakeholders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border;
- Help ensure cross-component collaboration with KIND’s Policy and Advocacy and Communications teams and Regional team;
- Ensure entry of timely, accurate, and detailed case data into KIND’s case management systems
- Support reporting and grant proposals as needed;
- As needed, supervise Paralegals, Program Assistants, Program Coordinators, interns, and/or other non-legal staff.
- J.D. or equivalent from accredited U.S. or Mexican law school and admission to the bar in at least one U.S. state or territory and/or Mexico (cédula profesional or equivalent);
- 2+ years of experience practicing immigration law required, including representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas and T visas, or similar protections under Mexican law;
- Experience working with legal staff or volunteers preferred;
- 2+ years of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, or experience working with survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma;
- Exposure to or familiarity with Mexican immigration system and child welfare laws preferred;
- A strong record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills. Experience communicating with Mexico- or Latin-America-based officials and NGO partners preferred;
- Demonstrated writing and public speaking/training skills;
- Ability to take initiative, multi-task, and work independently;
- Ability to handle discreet, sensitive, and confidential information appropriately and exercise judgement in a fast-paced environment;
- Ability to be flexible and adapt to frequently-changing circumstances, policies, and conditions affecting this dynamic work;
- Spanish and English fluency (written and oral) required. Familiarity with Mexican and Central American legal documents and vocabulary highly preferred.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT
Ability to work within an office environment, have regular interaction via telephone, video, and email with KIND’s national team and have regular interaction including meetings with partners and stakeholders on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Additional travel may also be required for conferences, retreats, or other professional development opportunities within the U.S. or Mexico.
Applications, including a cover letter, resume, salary requirements and contact information for three professional references, should be submitted online at: https://supportkind.org/jobs/. Applications that do not contain all of the above-listed required materials will not be considered.
Applications should be submitted as soon as possible and will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Applicants selected for interviews will be duly notified. Please no inquiries or phone calls. KIND is an EOE committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in both its staff and work. The selected applicant will be asked to undergo a background check before acceptance of the final offer.