Immigrants’ Rights Fellow (San Francisco, Sacramento or Fresno)

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ACLU of Northern CA

The Opportunity

The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) seeks applicants to join the Immigrants’ Rights team for a full-time fellowship position of two years. The Immigrants’ Rights Fellow will be integral in building and strengthening the work of the Immigrants’ Rights team. California’s state and local law enforcement agencies continue to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and the personal information of its residents are exploited by federal agencies to arrest, detain, and deport. As the Immigrants’ Rights Fellow, you will investigate and develop strategies and campaigns, including litigation and public education, to disentangle state and local cooperation with immigration enforcement. This will include investigation of law enforcement practices, as well as the sharing of personal information and surveillance data among state, local, and federal agencies. The Immigrants’ Rights Fellow position can be based in any of ACLU NorCal’s offices.

The Approach

Our work is guided by the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the Constitution. However, we know that because of historic and systemic racism and other forms of oppression, these principles are not equitably applied to all. In an ideal world, everyone would have equal access to justice and equal protection under the law. Unfortunately, neither our world nor our country is ideal. Our work involves hard subject matter that can be emotionally draining for some people. Ideal candidates will understand that as a mission driven organization; we strive to make the world a better place knowing that the road is long and hard. At the same time, we understand the importance of self-care, and do our best to reflect that in our practices and values.

The Position

The Immigrants’ Rights Fellow will help to develop and implement multi-modal, integrated advocacy strategies to advance the Immigrants’ Rights team’s strategic plans and to protect and defend civil rights and civil liberties for all Californians. You will spend your time directly engaging in substantive litigation projects and policy advocacy. This work may include developing grassroots advocacy campaigns to effect policy changes at the local and regional levels; leading public education efforts to advance programmatic priorities; conducting outreach to and advocating in coalition with our community partners; and facilitating internal and external trainings and leadership development in key issue areas. Your work may also focus on legal advocacy and litigation, including engaging in the investigation, development and initiation of high-impact cases; working up fact and expert discovery; conducting legal research and writing; and appellate work.

About the Organization

The ACLU of Northern California is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) is comprised of two distinct corporations, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California (501c3) and the ACLU of Northern California (501c4). The incumbent is a joint employee of both corporations. For most of the last century, it has been at the heart of many of the most major – and sometimes controversial – struggles for civil liberties and civil rights in our state.

Our mission is to ensure that Constitutional rights don’t just exist on paper but are protected in practice. As we move into a new era and face dangerous policies that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, we remain dedicated to confronting these issues and defending the progress we have made. We must use our decades of experience in impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and fearless organizing to fight these un-American policies and protect our most cherished rights and freedoms. We are committed to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning. We are the resistance. Join us.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Create and implement multi-pronged strategies using litigation, public education, and legislative and policy advocacy to further the ACLU-NCs strategic plans
  • Conduct legal research and analysis
  • Draft legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs
  • Interview witnesses and potential clients
  • Participate in discovery and motion and trial practice
  • File administrative complaints, claims, and open records requests with local, state, and federal agencies
  • Grow and deepen relationships with community partners, coalitions, and stakeholders
  • Ensure effective delivery of up to date know your rights materials to affected communities
  • Engage in community outreach and public speaking, including representing the ACLU-NCs positions to the media and public generally


  • J.D. or expected to receive a J.D. by the summer of 2021
  • Demonstrated interest in civil rights work
  • The ability to write in a clear and concise manner with an emphasis on legal writing;
  • Well-developed legal research skills
  • Strong time management and the ability to juggle multiple assignments in a fast-paced office
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a proven ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative, manage a variety of tasks and see projects through to completion
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability and socio-economic circumstance
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts

Total Compensation

We are committed to creating and maintain a diverse workforce through equity initiatives, which includes equitable pay practices. Competitive compensation is commensurate with experience. Starting salary for this position is $74,263.

We understand how vital our work is and at the same time understand the toll engaged activism can take. Our goal is to retain staff and we believe that having a robust benefit offering is vital in meeting that goal. Our benefits include four weeks paid vacation in addition to 14 office holidays; fully employer-paid medical, vision and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse or domestic partner; life and long-term disability insurance; and 401(k) plan with employer match. We have a robust Employee Assistance Program and emerging Employee Resource Groups.

This position is represented by IFTPE Local 20.

To Apply

Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we will be evaluating applications on a rolling basis.  Applications must include (1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample, and (4) a list of three references. Applicants concurrently applying to any other position with the ACLU should state what other position they are applying for in the cover letter. Please submit your application online at:

The ACLU-NC is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


The ACLU of Northern California advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU-NC strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve.

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