The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights that is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. NIJC provides direct legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and advocates for these populations through policy reform, impact litigation, and public education.
PILI Interns and Fellows work on a wide variety of projects, including asylum applications and hearings, deportation hearings and appeals, immigrant visa petitions, issues related to unaccompanied immigrant children, detained immigrant assistance, and related matters. Interns and Fellows work closely with clients from many different countries and cultures, and may have the opportunity to appear in court. Fluency in a relevant second language is strongly preferred.
This agency is approved to host two Law Student Interns during the fall semester, one with the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative and one with the Counter-Trafficking Project. This agency is also approved to host a Law Student Intern in the spring semester to work with the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative, and one in the summer whose focus will be determined during the application process. NIJC is also approved to host Graduate Fellows. When applying, please indicate if you are interested in the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative, the Counter-Trafficking Project, or both projects.
NIJC strongly encourages applications from people with lived experiences in immigrant communities, members of marginalized communities, and individuals from communities that are underrepresented in the legal profession. Individuals with a significant interest in immigration issues but with limited prior experience will be strongly considered.
LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative: NIJC is seeking a PILI law student intern to join its LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Initiative. The LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Initiative provides legal services to low-income immigrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) and those who are living with HIV. The intern will support the LGBTQ project’s legal services by conducting intakes, drafting client affidavits, conducting research related to client cases, drafting legal briefs, preparing applications, communicating with clients, and other tasks as assigned. The intern may have an opportunity to appear in immigration court and/or to observe a hearing. Spanish fluency is preferred, though fluency is other languages will also be considered. Experience working with trauma survivors and ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines is critical.
Counter-Trafficking Project: The Counter-Trafficking Project provides immigration legal services to survivors of labor and sex trafficking. The intern will support CTP’s legal services by conducting intakes, drafting client affidavits, conducting research related to client cases, drafting legal briefs, preparing applications, communicating with clients, and other tasks as assigned. Spanish fluency is required and individuals with experience working with trauma survivors and ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines is critical.
Federal Litigation: NIJC’s Litigation Team pursues cases in federal court presenting issues relating to immigrant rights. Many cases involve direct appeals (petitions for review) to circuit courts or individual matters in district court (habeas petitions for detained individuals, mandamus actions for cases with long delays). Other cases are systemic in nature and challenge larger agency policies like the issuance of an illegal regulation or improper reliance on a particular policy. Interns with the litigation team conduct legal research, write legal memos, and work with clients who have pending (or soon to be pending) federal-court matters. Client facing work includes writing declarations and interviewing clients primarily. Legal writing experience includes memos and potential court documents like motions. Because the litigation team also helps litigation project clients with their agency level cases, interns could also be assigned to work on a litigation client’s USCIS or EOIR case. This position can be fully remote and is open only to law students. Because litigation and policy work often overlap, litigation interns can expect to work on policy matters as well.
This agency is approved to host a Law Student Intern during the fall, spring, and summer. They are also approved to host Graduate Fellows.