2019 Summer SIFI Bilingual Legal Intern

at Southern Poverty Law Center
Alexandria, LA; Lumpkin, GA; Ocilla, GA and Folkston, GA


The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides high-quality, holistic pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States by ensuring that skilled staff, pro bono attorneys, and bilingual advocates are available to protect detained immigrants’ due process rights.

The SIFI serves detainees in five immigration detention centers in the southeast: Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA, Irwin Detention Center in Ocilla, GA, and the Folkston Detention Center in Folkston, GA. In Louisiana, the SIFI currently has an office in Alexandria, LA to serve those detained in the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, La, and Pine Prairie Detention Center in Pine Prairie, LA.

SIFI’s offices are managed by on-the-ground staff who, in conjunction with volunteers, provide detention center-based interviews, represent those in detention during bond proceedings and merits cases, and prepare parole requests. Through the SIFI’s efforts to release immigrants from detention and larger advocacy efforts, the SPLC aims to provide direct services representation and high impact legal advocacy to protect the due process rights of detained immigrants and disrupt the immigration detention system. To learn more, visit our webpage here.

This is a Legal position.Only students who are still in law school will be considered.

Position Summary: 

Bilingual (English-Spanish) Legal Externs will join a team of civil rights advocates at a SIFI office. Externs will be thoroughly trained in individualized direct services representation through casework focused on bond motions and hearings, parole requests, and merits proceedings (i.e. asylum, cancellation of removal, U visa). Externs will also participate in and/or conduct intakes and client meetings within the detention center, work with pro bono attorneys, observe immigration court proceedings, assist with communications to clients’ family members, collect documents in support of filings, and will support all aspects of the SPLC’s broader advocacy efforts to end immigration detention.

Currently, all SIFI offices are accepting applications. If you have a preference of where you would like to work, either based on geography or a desire to work with immigrants in a specific detention center, let us know. We will be accepting applications for all terms.

Primary Job Functions:

  • Support legal filings including bond motions, parole requests and filings for merits cases;
  • Make appearances before the Immigration Courts to support bond and merits hearings, and other related proceedings, if applicable;
  • Lead Immigration Court watching programming, if applicable;
  • Support the SIFI staff’s provision of legal services in conjunction with volunteers working remotely and on the ground;
  • Independently conduct legal intakes and client meetings within a detention center, and support communications with family members of actual and potential clients;
  • Assist the SIFI staff with all aspects of SPLC’s advocacy on behalf of detainees, including with civil rights litigation;
  • Timely input information into SIFI’s case management software in accordance with relevant policies and procedures; and
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

Qualifications –

  • Proficient English and Spanish speaking-skills required, and written proficiency preferred;
  • Strong academic background with excellent legal writing and research skills;
  • Willingness to live in the rural Deep South or approximately 45 minutes from a SIFI office in larger cities such as Jacksonville, FL, Columbus, GA, and Alexandria, LA for the duration of an externship;
  • Excellent communication skills including strong listening, written, and verbal skills, and the ability to show empathy and professionalism towards those who have or are currently experiencing trauma;
  • Previous experience working with non-English speakers and/or low-income immigrant clients strongly preferred;
  • Ability to juggle and prioritize multiple responsibilities daily in a fast-paced environment;
  • Commitment to serving immigrant clients in detention; and
  • Committed to the values and mission of the SPLC.

Other Special Considerations:

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


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.

To Apply: Please email SIFISchedulers@splcenter.org with a (1) cover letter including the whether you have any preference to work at a specific SIFI office either based on geography or desire to work with individuals at a specific detention center, (2) resume/CV, (3) writing sample (maximum 10 pages), (4) law school transcript, and (5) list of three references.

Application Deadline:

We will stop accepting applications at 5:00 PM Central, March 1st.

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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