PLEASE NOTE: NIJC is not accepting internship applications at this time. Please check back as we will begin accepting applications for fall soon.
The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, offers internships to law students and undergraduate students to work in a variety of its different legal services programs. The internships present an excellent opportunity to learn more about U.S. immigration law and policies while making a difference in the lives of low-income and impoverished individuals who are in need of legal representation.
NIJC has garnered a national reputation for providing quality legal services and advocacy for low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers. NIJC’s trainings, publications, and technical assistance reach a diverse constituency of pro bono lawyers, non-profit community groups, policymakers, and government officials. NIJC’s office is located in downtown Chicago.
In general, an internship may include the following activities:
- Interview immigration clients telephonically and in-person to collect factual information related to their cases;
- Input case-related information into client database and prepare case summaries and legal immigration documents and materials;
- Conduct follow-up interviews with clients throughout the case preparation process;
- Assist NIJC attorneys in preparing for hearings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review; and
- Ensure copies of all relevant documentation are routed to the client’s case file.
Interns generally work in the following programs:
- Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Project for Protection of Asylum Seekers facilitates pro bono representation for asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their homelands and advocates for the protection of human rights. This project also provides legal services for individuals seeking protection from gender-based persecution, both in the United States and in their home countries. (Proficiency in French or Spanish is generally required.)
- Counter-Trafficking Project provides comprehensive legal services and case management for children and adult survivors of human trafficking. Law enforcement and social service agencies identify NIJC as the key collaborator in providing critical protection to human trafficking survivors. International and national organizations and NGOs have invited NIJC staff to conduct trainings on human trafficking and to help them replicate NIJC’s program model. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required)
- Detained Immigrant Protection Project provides legal orientation and representation to detained immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and advances their legal and human rights through advocacy, litigation, and public education. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required.)
- Immigration Policy Program identifies abuses and shortcomings in the immigration system and advocates for systemic change at the federal, state, and local levels. NIJC’s policy advocacy work includes, but is not limited to, the following areas: access to counsel, asylum, detention, enforcement, immigration reform, and policies impacting vulnerable populations, including unaccompanied immigrant children, LGBT immigrants, refugees, and victims of crime and trafficking.
- Immigrant Legal Defense offers legal services to immigrants, including family visa petitions, legal permanent residency, U.S. citizenship, and Temporary Protected Status. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required.)
- Immigrant Children’s Protection Project provides specialized legal services to and advocates for immigrant children, many of whom are fleeing human rights abuses such as forced recruitment as soldiers, sexual exploitation, and child labor. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required.)
- LGBT Immigrant Rights Project ensures protections for LGBT individuals who are victims of persecution in their home countries because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. (Proficiency in French or Spanish is generally required.)
- National Litigation Project provides representation nationally for individuals in the federal courts. This project focuses on defending due process rights for immigrants and influencing systemic changes in U.S. immigration law and policy through impact litigation. (Spanish speakers encouraged to apply.)
- Communications and Marketing internship is an opportunity to learn strategies for engaging audiences through digital channels including social media and email, create engaging content, experience developing and executing an online fundraising appeal that provides critical funding for nonprofits, and understand how to use data and analytics for more effective programs. Applicants with design skills and experience with Adobe Creative Suite software a plus. Please follow application guidelines below but note that a 1-2 page writing sample is sufficient. Activities may include:
- Crafting content for NIJC’s website, emails, and social media accounts
- Collecting, editing, and organizing client stories from program staff
- Pulling and analyzing data from NIJC’s social media accounts and email marketing statistics
- Assisting with creating and implementing digital strategy for NIJC’s annual appeal year-end fundraising campaign
- Assisting with special projects
Interns must have a passion for our issues and excellent written and verbal communication skills. The ideal candidates are independent, detail-oriented, and highly organized. Experience with Windows XP, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word is a must. Database experience is very helpful. Oral comprehension and proficiency in both English and Spanish or French is generally required. Applicants must be open to evolving responsibilities.
The National Immigrant Justice Center, an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, is strongly committed to diversity and welcomes applications of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, including people who have been previously incarcerated.