Asylum – Legal Assistant (Phoenix office) – Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project – Phoenix, AZ

The Florence Project was founded in 1989 to respond to a representation crisis for indigent non-citizens detained at the rural Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Center in Florence, Arizona. Through our programs today, we provide services to more than 6,000 men, women, and children detained in Eloy, Florence, Phoenix, and Tucson, Arizona on any given day. The Florence Project has become known nationally for its legal service delivery systems which ensure detained people empowered access to justice. The Florence Project provides high quality legal advice or representation and supports initiatives for national changes in immigration law and policy.

The Florence Project is seeking a passionate advocate to support our asylum representation team as a legal assistant. The asylum legal assistant will engage in crucial human rights work for adults seeking asylum and who are experiencing immigration detention. The legal assistant will have the opportunity to assist attorneys in the direct representation of people detained in Arizona and who fear return to their countries of origin. The position will allow the legal assistant to work with individuals at the credible fear, immigration court, and appellate stages of their cases. The legal assistant will directly report to the Direct Representation Team Managing Attorney.
The Asylum Legal Assistant position is based in Phoenix. The adult detention program is generally headquartered in our office in Florence, AZ, approximately one hour south of Phoenix and one to one and a half hours north of Tucson, allowing access to clients detained in Florence and Eloy facilities. One requirement of the position is frequent travel to immigration detention centers located in Eloy and Florence, Arizona.

Duties include but are not limited to the following:
Conduct in-depth client intake interviews
Visit with detained clients to obtain initial and follow-up information
Assist with drafting and reviewing applications for relief from removal
Investigate and develop evidence to support clients’ fear-based claims, such as drafting client declarations, witness letters, and obtaining supporting documents from feared country of return
Translate documents from Spanish to English and English to Spanish, when necessary
Collect documentation on human rights conditions of feared countries of return (e.g. country conditions)
Communicate with witnesses as needed
Prepare legal filings and submissions and submit to the court as needed by the attorneys
Refer clients who are released from ICE custody to appropriate pro bono resources in their destination community, when such resources are available, and develop a compilation of packets of support
Assist in drafting packets to advocate for clients’ release, such as humanitarian parole requests or bond
Administrative support for direct representation teams
Data entry, file management, and preparing monthly statistics for grant reporting purposes

Must be fluent in Spanish or have advanced proficiency
Bachelor’s degree is preferred
Demonstrated commitment to immigrant rights, social justice, or human rights issues
The position includes extensive client contact with men and women who have survived violence; applicants must have a comfort-level or prior experience working with torture survivors, victims of sexual violence/gender-based violence, child abuse survivors, highly traumatized people, and people suffering from PTSD
Must be comfortable working in a detained setting and with people with criminal convictions
Must be highly organized and an innovative thinker with excellent communication skills
Ability to work in a high volume setting with limited resources
Must be a hard-working team player with a sense of humor who is flexible, patient, respectful, and comfortable in a busy setting
Ability to collaborate and build relationships with legal and non-legal stakeholders
Ability to travel regularly, especially between the Phoenix and Florence offices and secondary work locations
Must be able to pass basic background checks and obtain security clearance to enter detention facilities

How To Apply