Celebrating 10 years of helping immigrant neighbors find Justice and Love in their chosen home
Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors celebrates its 10th anniversary with More Justice and More Love. The first decade of JFON is full of stories of hope from clients, volunteers and staff who were the first to encounter JFON and have made it what it is today. Justice and Love are at the center of our work as we celebrate a decade of providing high quality immigration legal services. JFON has now become the stories of justice and love as we seek a world where immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, supported and able to live without fear.
Today, we are calling for More Justice and More Love as we face a pandemic that is affecting our immigrant families of color disproportionately. We are calling for More Justice and More Love as our clients’ day in court is delayed even further by the pandemic. We are calling for More Justice and More Love as we strive to dismantle racist and unjust policies that have broken our immigration system and have separated immigrant families for years.
At Northern Illinois JFON we believe that as we come together to build safe spaces with More Justice and More Love we can break the structures of oppression and fix the broken immigration system to create a path to citizenship where immigrant families can live and thrive in their chosen home. Your support of our local mission to provide free high-quality immigration legal services here in Northern Illinois creates More Justice and More love for our clients and their families.
Every dollar given to JFON goes directly to support legal services for immigrants’ families and creates spaces with More Justice and More Love. We see Justice and Love come to life when a family is reunited after so many years apart. We see Justice and Love take root and flourish when an LGBTQIA asylum seeker is able to live their full life as their full self. We see Justice and Love blossom when a mother living in the shadows of fear for years attends her oath ceremony and shines her light brightly for herself & children.
Are you ready to join NIJFON’s More Justice, More Love Campaign? Together we can continue to to build spaces with More Justice and More Love for immigrant families for the next 10 years to come.
Please click here to see NIJFON’s 10th Anniversary Facebook Live Kickoff Event on February 21, 2021.
Claudia Marchan Rev. Michael Mann,
Executive Director, NIJFON Board Chair, NIJFON
Staff Attorney Position
The Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors (NIJFON) mission is to provide free, high-quality immigration legal services; engage in education and advocacy; and build cross-cultural communities. Our vision is a world where immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees are welcomed, supported, and able to live without fear. NIJFON represents low-income immigrant communities throughout Northern Illinois. Please visit our website for more information: www.nijfon.org.
The Staff Attorney will represent individuals in immigration and related matters before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and other related entities. The Staff Attorney will also help implement and coordinate NIJFON’s legal services under any grant or other programs for which we currently receive funding or may receive in the future.
As caseload allows, the Staff Attorney will also conduct educational presentations about immigration laws and policies to the general public and immigrant community, as well as engage in advocacy for just and humane immigration policies throughout the state of Illinois and the United States.
This position is based in Chicago and is flexible regarding remote work. Appearances before the Chicago Immigration Court (EOIR) and Chicago USCIS (including the Asylum Office) will be required. The work we do at NIJFON is broad; to the extent possible, we will make every effort to accommodate the specific caseload and other interests for the Staff Attorney in order to ensure they are doing work they find interesting and meaningful.
- Represent individuals in immigration and related cases before USCIS, EOIR, the BIA, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and other related entities.
- Oversee client intakes remotely, in the office, and potentially at clinics in locations throughout Northern Illinois.
- Oversee and train volunteers for legal work.
- Ensure that legal and case management practices comply with the relevant principles and rules of professional responsibility for attorneys in the jurisdiction in which the staff attorney is licensed and practices. The staff attorney must also observe National JFON practice standards and policies.
- Participate in outreach and educational efforts as much as the legal workload may permit and as deemed appropriate pursuant to consultation with the Supervisory Attorney.
- Work closely with the Executive Director, Supervisory Attorney, other staff, and Board of Directors to further the strategic vision of NIJFON.
The staff attorney should have a strong commitment to public interest legal service and to the enfranchisement and empowerment of immigrant communities. Justice for Our Neighbors is based in the United Methodist Church, and the work involves many diverse individuals, cultures, and faiths who come together to welcome immigrants to our communities. As such, the staff attorney should have an appreciation of this work and an ability to work sensitively with numerous volunteers and clients having diverse personalities, lifestyles, cultures, political orientations, and faiths.
Proficiency in written and spoken Spanish is required, and fluency is preferred. Proficiency in other languages is a plus.
PROFESSIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
- JD and license to practice law within any jurisdiction in the United States (Illinois preferred) are required. We will also consider individuals who will be sitting for the Summer 2022 Bar Exam.
- Knowledge of immigration and nationality law and experience filing and preparing immigration forms and cases is highly preferred.
STAFF ATTORNEY SALARY AND BENEFITS
Salary: $55,000. A full benefits package, including option for full health insurance coverage and pension, is included, along with generous vacation and holiday (12 holidays observed and NIJFON is closed from Christmas day through New Year’s Day) policies. NIJFON also pays annual ARDC licensing fees, as well as membership fees for two bar associations of the Staff Attorney’s choosing.
Furthermore, NIJFON is part of a broader network of 19 sites across the network, which provides the following benefits: connection with a Consulting Attorney designated by National JFON and connection to the other sites for case consultations; malpractice insurance coverage; and memberships to AILA, the Practicing Law Institute, CLINIC, and ASISTA, among other professional development resources and databases. There is also an Employee Assistance Program, which provides discounts on goods and services, as well as access to free legal and mental health services.
It is the policy of NIJFON to recruit, employ, recompense, and promote our professional staff in a manner that does not involve segregation or discrimination on the basis of race, color, age, sex, or disability, including HIV status, or sexual orientation. NIJFON complies with all governmental non-discrimination rules for its employment locations, including those for citizenship status, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status.
HOW TO APPLY
Those interested in applying should submit a cover letter, resume, a brief writing sample (make it creative- it doesn’t have to be a legal document), and a list of three references (telephone numbers and email addresses) to: email@example.com with “NIJFON Staff Attorney” in the subject line.
“During the week that marked eight years since President Barack Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),” writes Claudia Marchan, executive director for Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors, and herself a DACA recipient, “the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration to end DACA and allows DACA to stay!
“This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle,” she continues. reminding us that DACA is a temporary status. “As we reflect on this gratifying and surprising victory from the Supreme Court, I share with you the story of one DACA recipient; I share with you my story.”
They are ni de aquí ni de allá: neither from here, nor from there.
During the week that marked eight years since President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – a program that allows undocumented immigrant youth to apply for deferred action from deportation and obtain a work permit in the U.S – the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump Administration to end DACA and allowed DACA to stay!
This is a huge win for the immigrant community, but it is not the end of the struggle. As we reflect on this gratifying and surprising victory from the Supreme Court, I share with you the story of one DACA recipient; I share with you my story . . .
Growing up, I rarely felt different. I was reunited with my mom at the age of four and met my family, which included a new baby sister and a dad. The promise of family was what my mom reminded me of as I struggled to leave my grandmother’s side that day in August. Although my mom called me frequently to remind me that she would return, it was hard to leave Mama Socorro.
I didn’t feel different because my mom reminded me every single day why she had to make the decision to leave. She was in search of a better life for the two of us. You see, she had struggled her whole life to get her education, shelter, and food. Her dad, my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 35 when my mom was 14, sent her off to go to school in another town at the age of 12. When my mom tells us this story, she says “he didn’t have a formal education, he rode a horse, and ‘stole’ your grandmother at the age of 16, but somehow he knew that my future was not there in the rancho.”
I tell you this because this is where I come from, this is part of my story. The story of the struggle, pain, anger, and resilience of my mother is also my story. My mother immigrated to the United States at a time where she found immigration relief for herself. Not knowing the language and being afraid of what may happen to me as we were miles apart and separated by a border, she, unfortunately, couldn’t find immigration relief for me.
Today, I am “DACAmented,” and leading an immigration legal services nonprofit. I spend each day thinking not only of my struggles and pain but also of how these struggles and pain are present in close to 700,000 other “DACAmented” peers across the country. I know the opportunities we have had and of the opportunities that have been denied for those who were left out of DACA. I worry about the mixed status families and undocumented families that are denied safety and have been left out of all emergency funding during a world crisis. I think about all the immigrants in detention centers that have been separated from their families, denied asylum, and exposed to a deadly pandemic.
And now, I get to celebrate the close to 700,000 students, mothers, fathers, teachers, nurses, engineers, attorneys, accountants, scientists, community leaders, and especially those risking their lives every single day in front line jobs who can sleep better knowing that DACA is safe. Many of these DACAmented immigrants have risked their lives in front line jobs every single day throughout this pandemic while worrying about losing DACA protections every single night.
Throughout this pandemic, close to 700,000 of us have had to continue facing a world crisis with the threat of losing our status in this country. This reality left has left us short of living the American Dream and, instead, stuck in a nightmare. Today, we can celebrate waking up from this nightmare and, again, can have the opportunity to share in the American Dream.
Growing up, I rarely felt different. But I really am different. I have grown up in a country that continues to push me to the side, deny me of my rights, and seeks to send me back to my country of birth. The truth is that yes, I am different, and, frankly, I am “ni de aqui, ni de alla” – neither from here nor from there. I have lived in the United States for 33 of my 37 years of life. I went to kindergarten here, got my bachelor’s degree here, got my master’s degree here, got married here, had my children here, celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday here. This is where I fought the government for unjustly putting my dad in a detention center. I was born in Mexico and, since Mama Socorro passed away, the Mexico that I vaguely remember is not the same without her.
The Supreme Court decision today that blocks the Trump Administration from ending DACA is a huge win, but it is not the end of our struggle. DACA recipients and all undocumented immigrants need and deserve a pathway to citizenship. We need to embrace, welcome, and help immigrants live safely in the United States. As I saw the decision come in, my heart was beating fast, and tears of joy streamed down my face. For today we have won, but I invite you to demand and continue to work on comprehensive immigration reform for our immigrant communities and for a fair and just immigration system.
I invite you to join me in this fight.