Immigrants’ Rights Staff Attorney - ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties

Affiliate Offices
June 20, 2018

The ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLUF-SDIC) is seeking a full-time Immigrants’ Rights Staff Attorney.

The ACLUF-SDIC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 civil liberties and civil rights organization working to advance equality, freedom, and justice. ACLUF-SDIC affiliate covers the length of California’s border with Mexico.  It has 38 staff members, 23 board members, and an annual budget of $4.8 million.  The ACLUF-SDIC is also part of the ACLU Foundations of California, a collaboration of the three ACLU affiliates in California. The ACLU’s California offices are located in San Diego, El Centro, Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, Fresno, San Francisco, and Sacramento. Together, the three affiliates have more than 300,000 members and 200 staff people in California. In addition, we work collaboratively with our sister affiliates along the U.S-Mexico border. In addition to our sister organizations, the ACLU values partnerships and collaboration with community organizations and groups across the state and along the border.

The ACLUF-SDIC utilizes an integrated approach to our work and has a proven track record of success combining litigation, policy advocacy, legislation, research and analysis, public education, strategic communications, and community organizing to achieve meaningful social change. Our work is accomplished in conjunction with our 501(c)4 organization, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Both organizations have the same overall mission. Two separate corporate entities allow us to conduct a broad range of work to protect and advance civil liberties.

As we move into a new era and face dangerous policies that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, we remain dedicated to confronting these issues and defending the progress we have made. We must use our decades of experience in impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and organizing to fight these un-Constitutional policies and protect our most cherished rights and freedoms.

Position Overview

Reporting to a Senior Staff Attorney under the ultimate supervision of the Legal Director, the Immigrants’ Rights Staff Attorney is responsible for investigating, analyzing, and addressing issues faced by immigrants in San Diego & Imperial Counties that may be caused by violations of existing legal and policy protections and/or prevented by improvements in those protections. In collaboration with the affiliate’s Advancing Immigrants’ Rights team and the statewide ACLU of California Immigrants’ Rights team, the attorney will devise and implement strategies to address problems through legal advocacy and litigation, policy reform and implementation, community education, and strategic communications.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Identify, research, develop, and pursue immigrants’ rights legal and policy initiatives consistent with affiliate priorities;
  • Provide legal and policy expertise on immigrants’ rights issues, including by:
    • researching, drafting, or editing legal advocacy letters, amicus briefs, legislation, regulatory comments, reports, policy briefs and coalition sign-on letters;
    • participating in legislative briefings and meetings with federal, state, and local government officials; contributing legal analysis and support to designated legal, policy, organizing, communications, or development work of the affiliate as appropriate; and
    • conducting legal and policy research to support the Advancing Immigrants’ Rights team;
  • Investigate, monitor, and advocate for local and federal compliance with existing legal and policy requirements, including but not limited to statutes such as SB 54, and identify and develop strategies for achieving improvements in legal and policy protections of immigrants;
  • Research and maintain up-to-date awareness of current immigration enforcement tactics and trends, and communicate those tactics and trends as appropriate to appropriate legal department staff, other departments through the Advancing Immigrants’ Rights team, other affiliates through the ACLU of California Immigrants’ Rights team, and/or the national ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project;
  • Identify opportunities for expansion of legal services in San Diego & Imperial Counties to protect the rights of immigrants and provide support to lawyers and legal advocates pursuing those opportunities or expanding their services;
  • Provide technical support and strategic leadership to community partners, allies, stakeholders, and coalitions in the region, and build and nurture relationships by participating in regular conversations with community leaders and members and pursuing shared advocacy goals with them;
  • Assist in coordinating and increasing the impact of the affiliate’s Imperial Legal Orientation Program, which provides informational sessions for immigrant detainees in the Imperial Regional Detention Facility;
  • Draft content for “Know Your Rights” materials, op-eds, blog posts, and other media regarding immigrants’ rights, and participate in community outreach, education, and public speaking on issues impacting immigrant communities;
  • Participate in impact litigation, FOIA or California Public Records Act litigation, or strategic direct service representation as necessary or appropriate;
  • Participate in development of legal team plans and priorities in light of affiliate priorities and capacity;
  • Supervise interns or fellows on designated projects;


We anticipate hiring an attorney with proven litigation experience in state and federal court and familiarity with immigrants’ rights. Applicants must have excellent research, writing, analytic, interpersonal, communication, and time-management skills, as well as patience, emotional intelligence, and cultural competency. Applicants must be able to occasionally work evenings and weekends, and travel as needed inside or outside the U.S.

Strong candidates will have demonstrated experience using advocacy, community engagement, and litigation as part of a creative response to civil rights violations in affected communities; relevant experience working on immigrants’ rights; and be a flexible team player but also comfortable working independently and taking initiative. Spanish language fluency is preferred.

Must be admitted to the California Bar.

Reporting & Supervision

The Immigrants’ Rights Staff Attorney reports to a Senior Staff Attorney under the ultimate supervision of the Legal Director.


Benefits include generous health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans as well as matching 401(k) plan and ample vacation and sick leave and liberal holiday schedule.

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit a resume and a cover letter describing, in particular, the applicant’s interest in working for the ACLU and his or her qualifications for the position described above, and a minimum of three references. Please put “Immigrants’ Rights Staff Attorney – your name” in the subject line of your email. If possible, please include the cover letter and resume together in one PDF file.

Electronic applications are preferred. Please email

However, hard-copy applications can be mailed to:

ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties
ATTN: Deputy Director
PO Box 87131
San Diego, CA 92138-7131

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, veterans, and people with arrest records and/or convictions.

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