Position Title: Immigration Senior Staff Attorney
Department: Refugee and Immigrant Services
Reports To: Managing Attorney
FLSA Status: Exempt
Time Commitment: 40 hours per week, some weekends and evenings to support program needs.
Salary: $85,000-$90,000 per annum

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Position Description: This is a full-time, exempt position. The Immigration Senior Staff Attorney reports to the Managing Attorney. While representing clients, you will also support the Managing Attorney's operation of Afghan Legal Services, Detained and Non-Detained EOIR, Affirmative Asylum and Unaccompanied Minor legal programs. You will provide development support to Staff Attorneys, Volunteer Attorneys, and Legal Interns. You will conduct screenings and consultations, as needed, review staff intakes, and provide legal opinion as to acceptance of new cases/clients for legal services.

You will manage individual caseload, providing robust direct legal representation to individuals and families in the Afghan community through various immigration protections, including applications for asylum, Temporary Protected Status, Adjustment of Status, and work authorization based on pending asylum or current parole, as well as other forms of relief. You may also represent other low-income immigrant individuals and families in San Diego and Imperial counties in affirmative and defensive immigration matters. This work will include representing clients before the Los Angeles Asylum Office and applying for other affirmative benefits with USCIS. This position may also include representing clients before the San Diego Immigration Court, Imperial Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, ICE ERO (parole), and the Superior Court of California (San Diego Family Court and Probate Court - CA attorneys only). You will conduct legal screenings of detained and non-detained clients, work with the Managing Attorney to determine eligibility for representation of potential client, and provide immigration legal services, including determining eligibility for immigration benefits and need for referral to other benefits providers internally and externally. You will complete legal applications and petitions, collaborating with the Catholic Charities affirmative legal team for affirmative legal support. You will provide Know Your Rights presentations and short-term legal assistance at Catholic Charities events and emergency border shelters in San Diego and Imperial Counties. You will provide legal support to Refugee Services case management programs. You will provide legal immigration representation to unaccompanied minors upon release to sponsors by the ORR.

The position includes travel to the various legal forums where representation is required. Nothing in this job description restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. This is a hybrid position, with some remote work possible, as needed and consistent with program objectives.

Agency Culture:
The business and social environment in which our Agency operates is continuously changing. To thrive, we much incorporate new ways of thinking and embrace new practices. As part of this cultural change process, it is critical that all employees of Catholic Charities aspire to the following:
  • A commitment to the agency's mission, vision, and values (“We Do the Right Thing”)
  • A commitment to excellence in everything we do (“We Do Things Right”)
  • A commitment to achieving desired outcomes and measured results (Everything Matters”)
  • A commitment to innovation and to what is possible (“Creativity and Generativity”)

Essential Functions:
  • Assist the Managing Attorney to carry out supervisory responsibilities of volunteer attorneys and legal interns in accordance with the agency's policies and applicable laws.
  • Conduct legal consultations and determine eligibility for immigration benefits. Prepare and file USCIS applications and petitions. Prepare and file cases for individuals in removal proceedings in detained and non-detained context. Representation will be provided in both San Diego and Imperial counties.
  • Manage individual Unaccompanied Minors caseload and SIJ petitions.
  • Provide legal opinion as to acceptance of new cases/clients for legal services.
  • Preparation and submission of applications, legal briefs, and supporting documentation in affirmative USCIS processes, as well as before the EOIR in Detained and Non-Detained immigration court.
  • Works in partnership with Managing Attorney to develop and recommend strategy for all EOIR cases, detained and non-detained, as subject matter expert on litigation strategy and case development.
  • Serves as EOIR litigation specialist and team consultant for individual hearings. Covers other appearances as needed and practicable for RIS attorneys.
  • Attend trainings and courses to remain updated on immigration law and policy. Provide training to affirmative legal team, including case review upon request.
  • Additional training on AOS and complex waiver will be needed.
  • Work with bond funds and other non-profits as required to support legal services.
  • Travel as needed to any of the Agency sites.
  • Participate in workshops for the public and collaborative partners on immigration law and understanding individual rights.
  • Work with Program Support Manager on RIS department projects, upon RIS director's request.
  • Assist department administration in the development and expansion of its immigration services and resources to include expanded program and scope of services, to potentially include BIA appeals, predicate order procurement, low-bono representation, asylum clinics, other goals as desired.
  • Support Managing Attorney as lead for attorney volunteer and intern program.
  • Assist Managing Attorney, based on need, to administer attorney programming.
  • Follow established program protocols
  • Adhere to all agency policies and procedures
  • Submit program reports and statistics in a timely manner
  • Participate in departmental meetings, on-line webinars and other training opportunities

Education and/or Experience:
  • Experience working with clients from other countries, especially those from Afghanistan.
  • Experience representing complex affirmative asylum cases.
  • Ability to counsel clients regarding immigration law, procedures, forms, and eligibility.
  • Ability to represent clients before USCIS and Immigration Court.
  • Ability to provide training to volunteer attorneys and interns regarding immigration law, procedures, forms, eligibility criteria.
  • Must possess strong legal research and writing skills.
  • Familiarity of local DHS and EOIR offices and procedures.
  • Multilingual English/ Dari, Pashto and/or Spanish, desired

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:
Valid California Drivers License and current automobile insurance in compliance with Agency requirements. Member of the Bar Association, preferably California.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to walk and climb or balance. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision. Must be able to travel to various locations to support the needs of the program.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Catholic Charities is a non-profit, non-discriminatory service organization and employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, or disability. Persons seeking employment are entitled to freedom from harassment and retaliation and reasonable accommodation for qualified disabilities.