The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933, the IRC is at work today in more than 40 countries and in 26 U.S. cities. The IRC’s Resettlement, Asylum and Integration (RAI) department creates opportunities for refugees and other vulnerable migrants to survive and thrive in the US. RAI serves nearly 50,000 individuals each year in the US through a diverse portfolio of programs aimed at achieving outcomes in five impact areas: Health, Safety, Economic Wellbeing, Education, and Power.
The IRC has provided immigration legal services to the Dallas community since 1975 and since 2003 in Abilene, where IRC is the sole immigration legal services provider, serving over 1,000 individuals each year across Texas. For decades, the IRC has represented clients before US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in seeking adjustment of status, naturalization, family reunification, DACA renewal, TPS renewal, and advance parole.
In 2019, IRC Dallas launched two removal defense programs: (1) representation for unaccompanied children in or recently released from Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody who are seeking relief from removal; and (2) the Dallas SAFE Program, which provides publicly-funded legal representation to detained and non-detained Dallas City residents who are in removal proceedings as part of the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network—a national collaboration among governments, immigration legal service providers, and advocates working together toward universal representation.
IRC seeks a Legal Program Director to provide vision, strategy, and leadership to immigration legal services programs across Texas. The Legal Program Director will liaise with other IRC efforts across the state and work in conjunction with the Executive Director and IRC’s national Legal Services unit to identify and execute cross-border strategies.
The Legal Program Director will lead the development, strategy, and vision for legal and information programs across IRC offices in Dallas and Abilene and ensure the delivery of high-quality and impactful immigration programming through direct supervision of program managers and leads. The Legal Program Director will bring vision and creativity to implement, monitor, and facilitate expansion of essential immigration legal services in an ever-changing area of the law. The position will be a part of the senior leadership team in Dallas and work in close collaboration with leaders and managers of other program areas, as well as with development and finance managers. The Legal Program Director will communicate regularly with the Immigration Technical Unit (TU) at IRC’s headquarters, which oversees and supports IRC’s 25 legal service programs across the US, and a wide range of community partners and stakeholders.
This role requires thoughtful management and leadership, legal strategy, resource acquisition and development, advocacy, supervision, and the promotion of an inclusive and stimulating professional working environment in response to the demanding and changing needs of immigrant communities.
- Oversee immigration legal services programs in a manner that supports exchange of ideas, encourages camaraderie and collaboration, and fosters professional development.
- Together with managing attorneys and program managers, ensure adherence to program procedures and implement best practices, including those outlined in IRC’s Immigration Legal Services Program Policy Manual, to maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of legal service delivery.
- Develop clear roles, expectations, divisions of labor, measurements of success, and ensure that caseloads and other duties of legal staff are equitable.
- In collaboration with IRC’s Immigration Technical Unit, establish, maintain and periodically refresh legal services program policies and procedures.
- Provide supervision to managing attorneys, program leads, and program managers, including weekly one-on-one check-ins, work product review, and regular monitoring of paper/electronic client case files.
- Build and disseminate knowledge/analysis about local and national immigration issues and trends that impact IRC clients.
- Although the Legal Program Director will not carry an individual client case load, they should be ready/able to enter representation/co-counsel on client cases in the event of staff time off, staff transitions, complex cases that could impact the immigrant community, and other unforeseen circumstances.
- Ability to advise on complex client cases involving criminal history, immigration law violations, current or previous removal proceedings, appeals, etc; assumes responsibility and risk for outcomes of program’s client cases.
- Responsible for hiring and training employees; planning, assigning and directing work; appraising and assessing employee performance; as well as problem resolution.
- Work with program leads and managers to ensure program data is collected consistently, managed appropriately and reported timely, using IRC’s legal case management database and other relevant case management systems.
- Coordinate with other IRC teams, including the Safety Health & Wellness Program, to develop multidisciplinary approaches and strategies to address client needs.
- Work closely with the HQ Immigration Technical Unit and leadership at other IRC US offices to ensure a consistent approach and strategy to immigration legal services and asylum programming.
- Provide strategic direction and continual assessment of alignment of legal programs’ strategy and evolving community needs.
- Manage public and private grants that support the work of immigration legal staff, including timely reporting, monitoring outcomes, and evaluation of program effectiveness.
- Work with IRC-Dallas office leadership and IRC HQ on fundraising strategies to expand IRC’s immigration legal services programming, including through grant writing and advocacy efforts to develop publicly funded legal counsel for immigrants, for example.
- Locate new funding sources and maintain relationships with current funders.
- Work closely with IRC-Dallas leadership and finance team on continually assessing deliverables for grants to make strategic program decisions on legal programming, hiring needs, and staff responsibilities.
- Evaluate and identify potential expansion of legal services based on community needs and consistent with IRC’s mission.
Advocacy & Community Partnerships
- Coordinate with IRC’s communications and advocacy teams to publicly elevate client stories and trends which highlight issues endemic in the US immigration system, such as violations of due process and excessive delays in adjudication, to advocate for longer-term systemic change.
- Build and lead advocacy strategies in coalition with partners, including to promote public funding for immigrant legal representation.
- Stay informed on current and national immigrant rights and immigration priorities through networking and maintaining relationships with key local and national organizations and networks.
- Develop and maintain active relationships with community partners and with local, city, state, and federal elected officials.
- Other related duties as needed.
KEY WORKING RELATIONSHIPS:
Position Reports to: Executive Director, IRC Texas. Position liaises with IRC HQ Immigration Technical Unit.
Position Directly Supervises: managing attorney, staff attorney, immigration program manager, and other staff as needed.
- Law degree (JD or LLM) from an ABA-accredited U.S. institution and admission in good standing to any state bar;
- An expert in immigration law, immigration policy issues, and legal ethical obligations; understanding of the cross-border context desirable;
- At least five years of relevant experience including a minimum of three years representing clients both defensively before EOIR and on affirmative applications before USCIS (eg, asylum, adjustment of status, naturalization, family petitions); at least two years in a leadership position overseeing legal services, the duties of which included guiding the vision for the program, fundraising and overseeing grant management, advocacy, development and implementation of legal strategies to promote immigrant rights, engagement with community partners, and/or management and supervision of legal staff;
- Demonstrated leadership skills, including the ability to manage a team across programs and prioritize client-centered and trauma-informed services;
- Demonstrated ability to promote an organizational culture that reflects IRC’s core values of service, accountability, integrity, and equality. Ability to lead in a way that recognizes that IRC’s work is best accomplished through the true collaboration of individuals from many cultures with a great variety of skills and perspectives;
- Demonstrated fundraising record;
- Experience working with marginalized or impacted communities, grassroots organizations, and non-governmental organizations;
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- Demonstrated commitment to representing low-income, disadvantaged clients;
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills;
- Written and verbal English fluency;
- Bilingual in one or more languages of the immigrant community preferred (eg, Spanish, French, Arabic);
- Personal integrity in handling ethically complex and confidential situations;
- Strong computer literacy, research and analysis skills;
- Must have a valid driver’s license, access to personal vehicle with active insurance policy, and ability to travel frequently in and around the service area to engage with clients and community partners.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires new hires to furnish proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be considered for any in-office or hybrid positions. All IRC US offices require full vaccination to attend any in-office functions (e.g., meetings, trainings).
Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity: IRC is committed to building a diverse organization and a climate of inclusivity. We strongly encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate that they can contribute to this goal.
Equal Opportunity Employer: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.
US Benefits: We offer a comprehensive and highly competitive set of benefits. In the US, these include: 10 sick days, 10 US holidays, 20-25 paid time off days (depending on role and tenure), medical insurance starting at $145 per month, dental starting at $7 per month, and vision starting at $5 per month, FSA for healthcare, childcare, and commuter costs, a 403b retirement savings plans with up to 4.5% immediately vested matching contribution, plus a 3-7% base IRC contribution (3 year vesting), disability & life insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program which is available to our staff and their families to support counseling and care in times of crisis and mental health struggles.