Staff Attorney
ACLU - California

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Immigrants’ Rights Project

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , founded in 1920, is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with more than 500,000 members, and is dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution. The Immigrants’ Rights Project of the ACLU’s National office is seeking applicants for four full-time Staff Attorney positions as part of a coordinated campaign to defeat unconstitutional anti-immigrant laws and policies. Each Staff Attorney position will be based in an ACLU office in San Francisco , Phoenix, Kansas City, St. Louis or Atlanta . Each attorney will work in coordination with ACLU state affiliates and ACLU national advocacy and communications colleagues to fight anti-immigrant measures in an assigned region of the country—Southwest, Midwest, or Southeast. Each staff attorney position is for a duration of three years.


These four positions are part of an ACLU initiative to launch significant new litigation, advocacy, and public education to fight back against anti-immigrant state laws and policies. In recent years, state and local lawmakers around the country have adopted unconstitutional legislation and policies designed to take federal immigration regulation and enforcement into their own hands. These policies invite discrimination against immigrants, Latinos, and other communities of color and erode civil rights and civil liberties by, for example, permitting police officers to demand documentation from anyone who is subject to routine encounters with law enforcement. The civil liberties threats are especially dire in the southwestern, midwestern and southeastern regions of the country, where state legislatures have enacted some of the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant laws and local law enforcement agencies have implemented unconstitutional policies and practices relating to immigration enforcement.

The four attorneys will be part of IRP’s national legal staff and will engage in litigation and advocacy challenging unconstitutional laws and practices targeting immigrants, as well as public education and training about the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants and other affected communities. The attorneys will work closely with ACLU affiliates and immigrants’ rights advocates in one of three assigned regions: the Southwest, the Midwest, or the Southeast.

The IRP conducts the largest litigation program in the country dedicated to enforcing and defending the constitutional and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against non-citizens. The IRP also supports and coordinates the immigrants’ rights work of the ACLU’s 53 affiliates around the country. The IRP maintains offices in New York and California (and additional staff in Los Angeles and Atlanta) with combined staff of fifteen, plus legal fellows, interns and volunteers. Current areas of litigation and advocacy include state and local anti-immigrant laws and practices; immigration enforcement practices and racial profiling; immigration detention; habeas corpus and access to the courts; discriminatory language and education policies; and due process in immigration removal proceedings. The IRP is part of the ACLU’s Center for Equality, which works to uphold the federal constitution’s promise that all Americans will receive equal protection of the law. The Center also includes the ACLU’s Racial Justice, Voting and Disability work.

Participate in significant federal court impact litigation on behalf of immigrants and other affected communities, including case development, motions and briefs, client and witness interviews, and discovery.
Assist in developing and assessing potential litigation to challenge unconstitutional laws and practices targeting immigrants, by conducting legal research and fact investigation to identify issues subject to challenge.
Serve as a liaison to immigrant communities and advocates in an assigned region of the country (Southwest, Midwest or Southeast) to foster two-way communication about civil rights and civil liberties issues.
Work in conjunction with advocacy staff to support and advise the ACLU affiliates in the assigned region on legal and policy issues involving the civil and constitutional rights of immigrants and other affected communities.
Work in conjunction with communications staff to assist in developing public education materials and making presentations on the civil and constitutional rights of immigrants and others affected by policies that target immigrants. Public education efforts will be geared toward different audiences, including affected immigrant communities and direct service providers including immigration and criminal defense attorneys.
Serve as a resource for ACLU legislative and policy work; advance ACLU goals through public education, advocacy and media.

J.D. is required. Significant federal court litigation experience is strongly preferred.
Knowledge of immigration law is helpful but not required.
Must be self-motivated and able to work independently as well as within a team.
Demonstrated commitment to public interest law.
Ability to engage in complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
Excellent legal research and writing skills are essential.
Fluency in Spanish strongly preferred.
Experience in grass-roots organizing is helpful but not required.
Ability to travel is essential as the position will require frequent travel throughout the assigned region and to IRP’s offices in New York and California.


The ACLU offers compensation commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.

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The philosopher Socrates once said, "I am that gadfly which God has given the state." While the American Civil Liberties Union...