Paralegal II

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Job location
1702 Convent
Laredo, TX 78040
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA)
Street address: 
301 S. Texas Avenue
City: 
Mercedes
State: 
Texas
ZIP: 
78570
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has recently been funded by the Jones Day law firm to help it provide pro bono legal services to refugees detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail in Laredo, Texas. TRLA seeks a Paralegal to work with asylum applicants, most of whom are women from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are fleeing from the highest levels of violence in the Western Hemisphere, but after a perilous journey are promptly jailed upon crossing the Rio Grande and seeking asylum. The vast majority of the detainees have suffered traumatic experiences, including sexual assaults, robbery, extortion, and other acts of violence, in Central America or on the trip north. During their confinement in the Laredo facility, the inmates are subjected to a “credible fear interview” before a USCIS asylum officer, the first step in the asylum process. Almost none of the refugees are able to navigate the process without the professional assistance of trained lawyers and paralegals.
Jones Day, a major international law firm, has undertaken focused pro bono representation of the detainees in the Laredo facility. The firm will be bringing partners, associates and support staff from offices all over the nation to provide extended representation to asylum applicants from the initiation of the process to its ultimate conclusion. The emphasis in Laredo is on the first step in that process – passing the credible fear interview. Follow-up representation will be pursued by Jones Day lawyers from its 18 US offices. The firm has asked TRLA, the general legal services provider in Southwest Texas, to support its pro bono efforts by providing on-the-ground services inside the facility

Duties:

All candidates should possess a sense of urgency to protect asylum-seekers from deportation, empathy, and the ability to stay calm in the midst of crisis. The paralegals will work under the supervision of a lawyer inside the Laredo detention facility, performing the following duties:

• Conduct intake interviews with new clients, including eligibility screening;
• Develop specialized knowledge of asylum law and expedited removal;
• Prepare individuals for credible and reasonable fear interviews with a USCIS Asylum Officer;
• Prepare individuals who seek Immigration Judge review of a negative decision by an Asylum Officer;
• Support clients who request release on bond after a positive credible or reasonable fear determination;
• Draft declarations and gather evidence, including country conditions, that supports an individual’s eligibility for asylum;
• Prepare filings for court;
• Communicate with stakeholders, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
• Communicate with clients and their loved ones;
• Provide Know-Your-Rights presentations;
• Collaborate with current community partners and form new partnerships;
• Create legal educational materials;
• Support and collaborate with local and national volunteers;
• Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records;
• Prepare administrative reports;
• Provide translation and interpretation; and
• Provide legal information and referrals.

Requirements: 

Required Qualifications:
• Fluency in English and Spanish
• College degree
• Excellent oral and writing skills
• Ability to work independently and as a part of a team
• Flexibility to work evenings and weekends and accommodate an irregular work schedule
• A proven commitment to supporting vulnerable immigrant populations
Preferred:
• Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations
• Experience working with survivors of trauma
• Experience coordinating or participating in volunteer-based projects

To apply: 

How to Apply and Related Timelines:

Applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and three references with “Paralegal Position - Family Detention Project” in the subject line, to the following individual:
To: Monica Bustamante, Recruitment Manager, at [email protected]

The consideration of candidates is ongoing and will continue until the position is filled. The position is available immediately, although the start date is somewhat negotiable.

Notes: 
Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
Commensurate with experience, plus an excellent fringe benefits package.
Submission deadline: 
Monday, July 31, 2017
Expiration date: 
Monday, July 31, 2017