Fall 2019/Spring 2020 Legal Internship, Immigrants’ Rights Project, NY & CA

National InternshipsLegal Internships
New York
February 7, 2019

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Immigrants’ Rights Project

New York and California Offices


For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than one million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, and record of arrest or conviction.

The Immigrants’ Rights Project of the ACLU’s National Office in New York and California seek applicants for its Fall 2019/ Spring 2020 Legal Internship. A stipend is available for those students who do not receive outside funding and/or course credit. Arrangements can be made with the student’s school for a work/study stipend or course credit. 



The Immigrants’ Rights Project is a national project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation with offices in New York and California.  Using targeted impact litigation, advocacy and public outreach, the Project carries on the ACLU’s historic commitment to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of immigrants.  In federal district and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, the Project conducts the nation’s largest impact litigation program dedicated to defending and expanding the rights of immigrants, enforcing the guarantees of the Constitution, and achieving equal justice under the law.

The Project has focused on challenging laws that deny immigrants access to the judicial system, impose indefinite and mandatory detention, and constitute discrimination on the basis of “alienage” by governmental and private entities.  In addition, the Project has been challenging constitutional abuses that arise from immigration enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels, including litigation against the Muslim ban, worksite and home raids, local anti-immigrant employment and housing laws, and improper enforcement of federal immigration laws by local sheriffs.  IRP’s efforts in the enforcement arena seek to ensure the constitutional protections of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, combat racial profiling arising from actual or pretextual immigration enforcement that subjects immigrant communities to racism and hostility, and challenge government policies and practices that undermine or deny immigrants’ ability to effectuate their existing legal rights. 

The Education component of the Project provides information about immigrants’ rights to immigrant communities nationwide. The Project works with the English and non-English language media, immigrant advocacy organizations and ACLU affiliates around the country to empower immigrant communities through presentations about their rights and about current and proposed immigration laws.

Working closely with IRP staff, legal interns will work in all aspects of litigation including legal research, factual investigation, drafting of memoranda, affidavits, and briefs. Interns may also support IRP staff in providing support and advice to ACLU affiliates, private attorneys, and others who seek help; screening potential cases; and researching or drafting materials for public education. Interns will attend regular staff meetings.



Interns will have the opportunity to work on a variety of litigation projects.  The internships require a semester-long commitment, and a minimum of 15 hours per week.



Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the Immigrants’ Rights Project team on the following:

  • Conducting legal and policy research
  • Drafting memoranda, affidavits and briefs
  • Researching prospects for new litigation, including both factual and legal claims
  • Supporting research and drafting materials for public education



This internship is open to law students who will have completed their first year of school before the internship commences. Interns should possess the following:

  • Excellent research, writing and communication skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and conducting internet research
  • The initiative to see projects through to completion
  • A commitment to civil liberties, civil rights, immigrants’ rights and an interest in working toward racial and social justice
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU



Please send a 1-2 page cover letter describing your interest in immigrants’ rights and civil liberties, including any relevant life or work experience gained before or during law school; a current resume;  a legal writing sample (no more than 10 pages in length); a transcript, and a list of three references to hrjobsIRP@aclu.org.

Reference [ IRP Fall 2019/ Spring 2020 Legal Internship/ACLU-W ] in the subject line. Please specify your desired office location in the cover letter. If you are interested in both offices, please apply separately to each and indicate that you have done so in your cover letter.

Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to Immigrants’ Rights Project postings. In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address.


Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this internship opportunity.


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and accepted until the position is filled.


This posting provides a general but not comprehensive list of the opportunities of the internship. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, and record of arrest or conviction.  

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact: hrjobsincl@aclu.org. Correspondence sent to this address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed.  Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”


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