Detention Project Paralegal
at Heartland Alliance

Date Posted: 8/8/2019

Job Description

Detention Project Paralegal


The detention project paralegal is primarily responsible for the non-LOP portion of the detention project.  Their main responsibilities are incoming detention intake and detention case support (including research, case review, documentation preparation and other related tasks to support general operations and the work of staff and pro bono attorneys). The paralegal is encouraged to seek full accreditation with the Board of Immigration Appeals.

 Detention Intake & Case Screening:

  • Conduct detention intake interviews with detained non-citizens and their family members.

  • Present detention intake interviews for legal assessment.

  • In coordination with the assigned attorney, conduct legal and country-conditions research to assess claims and eligibility for immigration relief.

  • Oversee coverage for the detention project’s phone intake hotline.

  • Staff the detention project’s weekly phone intake hotline.

  • Monitor and respond, as needed, to voicemails left on the detention intake line outside of intake hours.

  • Manage and respond to mail and faxes from individuals in ICE custody.

  • Manage and respond to mail from non-citizens in state custody.

  • Respond to referrals from community and legal organizations seeking to refer detained cases to NIJC.

Case Support:

  • Prepare case acceptance packets and case closing letters for detention project attorneys.

  • Organize and scan closed detention project case files.

  • Prepare immigration cases for filing for detention project attorneys.

  • Prepare affidavits and indexes; gather supporting documents.

  • Conduct country research and draft country conditions sections of filings.

  • Assist attorneys in preparation of pre-hearing statements.


  • Participate in trainings and review legal materials to remain current on immigration law, policies, and procedures.

  • Participate in overnight Know Your Rights trips to detention facilities as needed, 2-3 times per year.

  • Be a backup for conducting individual orientations at LOP facilities when LOP staff is unavailable or additional support is needed.

  • Train and supervise interns on all administrative procedures and basic case assessment protocol.

  • Any other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Education and/or Experience:   Bachelors degree with demonstrated experience working with immigrants, refugees and/or asylum seekers.  At least one year of experience working with these populations preferred.

  • Language Skills:  Fluency in another language may be required.  Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences.

  • Other Qualifications:  Excellent writing, editing, organizational and computer skills required.  Ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and perform well under strict deadlines.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk and hear.

  • The employee is frequently required to reach with hands and arms.

  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; climb or balance; and stoop or kneel.

  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.

  • The noise level is usually moderate.

Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions, and operates all programs, services, and functions without regard to race, receipt of an order of protection, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, amnesty, physical or mental disability, protected veterans status, genetic information, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, use of FMLA, VESSA, military, and family military rights, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September 1987.

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Job Type: Other
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 8/8/2019

About Us

It’s more than a job, it’s a purpose.

Heartland Alliance—the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest— believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our multicultural staff are passionate about our mission and make Heartland Alliance a dynamic and exciting place to develop your career.

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