full time legal

Job Details


The Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) seeks an attorney (“Direct Services Attorney”) to maintain a docket representing migrants detained at the Folkston ICE Processing Center in Folkston, GA and engage in other community-driven and detention-based legal work impacting the Southeast Georgia-Florida region.

The Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI), a project of the SPLC, enlists and trains volunteer attorneys, law students, and other individuals to provide free legal representation to detained immigrants facing deportation in the Southeast. Grounded in the values of centering clients, supporting the movement to end detention, and prioritizing staff wellbeing, our work supports the movement to end immigration detention and serves people confined in immigrant detention centers in Georgia and Louisiana. We stand with migrants in court, fight for their release from custody, work in multi-racial coalitions to dismantle... the structures that perpetuate incarceration, join forces with partners to combine advocacy and class action litigation, and strive for a just and equitable climate from migrants in the Deep South.

Since 2017, SIFI has focused on representing clients in custody proceedings and a small number of removal cases on the merits before immigration courts and ICE. In response to community needs, SIFI’s services have expanded to include federal habeas litigation and other forms of advocacy. In collaboration with community partners and other SPLC teams, SIFI advances various strategies including but not limited to pro se support, media work, and advocacy before members of Congress and other federal, state, and local officials. SIFI Folkston seeks to root both its legal and nonlegal advocacy in partnerships with frontline communities and local organizing efforts.

Grounded in values of anti-racism and the dignity and liberation of all people, the Direct Services Attorney will provide direct legal representation to individuals detained in the Folkston ICE Processing Center in removal proceedings before the Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and/or federal Circuit Courts. The Direct Services attorney will also advocate for migrants’ release from custody, including ICE detainers and ICE holds, through bond motions, parole applications, and other forms of advocacy. The Direct Services Attorney collaborates closely with the entire SIFI team, SIFI partners, allied organizations, and others to support ongoing pro bono efforts, including developing potential federal litigation arising from removal defense work. The Direct Services Attorney engages with directly impacted communities and centers SIFI Folkston’s advocacy around supporting local, community-driven power.

Primary Job Functions:

  • Review potential client referrals, conduct initial and follow-up consultations, identify possible forms of legal relief, and recommend to the SIFI Folkston team whether to offer legal services, refer to another provider, and/or provide pro se support;
  • Provide direct representation to SIFI clients in seeking their release from detention, through bond or parole, by preparing filings and appearing before the Immigration Courts, and other means of advocacy;
  • Provide direct representation to certain SIFI clients in merits removal proceedings and proceedings before federal immigration agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Board of Immigration Appeals;
  • Maintain accurate and complete electronic case records for all SIFI clients in the detention centers in accordance with best practice and ethical standards for the profession;
  • Collaborate with attorneys, legal paraprofessionals, interpreters, and volunteers, in furtherance of the representation of SIFI clients;
  • Cultivate and support SIFI relationships with partner organizations as well as community-based organizations in Georgia and Florida;
  • Collaborate with SIFI team and partners to review community-based requests for assistance and co-develop responsive proposals;
  • Collaborate with SPLC policy counsel to advance SPLC’s federal, state, and local policy goals; and
  • At times, provide support for civil rights litigation and other advocacy on behalf of individuals detained in the Folkston ICE Processing Center.

Qualifications –

Education and Related Work Experience:

  • JD from an accredited university;
  • Experience practicing before immigration courts and/or other tribunals;

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Dedication to and experience working with low-income, immigrant clients;
  • Commitment to client-centered representation and the leadership of migrant communities;
  • Commitment to advancing justice in the rural Deep South;
  • Commitment to a collaborative and leaderful work culture;
  • Although speaking a foreign language is not required, candidates that have intermediate proficiency in a foreign language such as Spanish, Creole, French, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu and/or other languages are highly encouraged to apply;
  • Commitment to ideals of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion; and
  • Commitment to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning.

Other Special Considerations:

This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.

This position is represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild.

Due to COVID-19, our offices are currently closed and staff is working remotely. If this position is filled while our offices remain closed, the new employee will work remotely until the offices reopen. We are not asking newly hired employees to relocate while the offices are closed.


The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.

An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction

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