Immigrants’ Rights Program Director

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ACLU of Northern CA

The Opportunity

The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) seeks an Immigrants’ Rights Program Director for either the San Francisco, Fresno, or Sacramento office.  

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 matters that can be emotionally draining for some people. As a mission driven organization, we strive to make the world a better place, but recognize 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 Program Director (IR Director) is responsible for identifying immigrants’ rights (IR) program priorities and working with allies to develop and manage proactive cases and campaigns to drive forward large-scale change. The IR Director provides supervision and support the approximately four- six staff attorneys, senior staff attorneys, policy associates, and legal professional staff who work in the program (some staff work in several program areas).  The IR Director will be supervised by a Legal-Policy Director and will work with the other five Program Directors on annual programmatic plans and intersectional cases and campaigns. The IR Director, like the other Program Directors, is expected to advance the ACLU NorCal mission while modeling the values of organization, including excellence, equity and inclusion, expansion mindset, and emotional intelligence. The IR Director will often work with our Organizing and Communications departments to advance the team and the organization’s mission.  The IR Director will also be part of statewide leadership, planning and coordination of IR work among the three ACLU affiliates in California and with ACLU California Action.

This position is a supervisory position and is not part of the bargaining unit represented by IFPTE Local 20.

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 (the “Foundation”, a 501c3) and the ACLU of Northern California (the “Union”, a 501c4). The incumbent is a joint employee of both corporations. For most of the last century, ACLU Nor Cal has been part 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, we face dangerous policies that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, we must use our decades of experience in impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and fearless organizing to fight these policies and protect our most cherished rights and freedoms. At the same time, ACLU NorCal is committed to advancing proactive and positive change to transform laws and institutions to advance our values. We are committed to fostering an anti-racist work culture and to anti-racist principles and learning.

COVID-19 Prevention

The ACLU NorCal physical offices are open. Up to date vaccination against COVID-19 is required as a condition of employment unless an exemption is requested and approved. Masking is required for in person work at this time.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Vision to implementation responsibility of an active, cutting-edge IR docket utilizing an integrated advocacy approach that includes litigation, local and legislative advocacy, and communications. This may involve engaging & coordinating with other program teams or departments as well as engaging in collaboration with the other ACLU affiliates and National ACLU.
  • Supervises IR Team Members in creating and executing work plans/portfolios. This includes but is not limited to managing performance, administering discipline, and recommending personnel actions such as promotions, transfers, and layoffs.
  • Perform direct work on active, cutting-edge litigation and policy advocacy in accordance with IR team priorities.
  • Forge and maintain relationships with community members, coalition groups, experts, government officials, and academics to engage them in our work and implement collaborative projects.
  • Participate in cross departmental and administrative meetings, setting collaborative, inclusive culture for the IR Team.
  • Perform administrative and leadership functions for the IR team and organization, including Program Planning, coordination with other program teams, preparation of a budget, and participation in organizational meetings and/or events.


Education / Experience:

  • J.D. or graduate degree in a field such as public policy or political science preferred.
  • 10 or more years’ experience in legal or policy work in the immigrants’ rights

(We welcome you to include any lived experience you are comfortable sharing in your cover letter or an additional attachment)

Required Skills / Competencies:

  • Extremely strong project and time management skills, including a high level of organization, attention to detail, and follow- through, while balancing and prioritizing multiple activities and responsibilities.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and ability to inspire collaboration, including success leading teams, projects, and people towards action through persuasion.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide support, supervision, and strategic guidance to IR team members.
  • Experience managing complex coalitions with a variety of viewpoints and goals.
  • Experience with policy or legal advocacy and/or litigation.
  • Demonstrated commitment to cultural diversity and demonstrated ability to hold and foster difficult and necessary conversations about race, class, sexual orientation and expression, religion, ability, and other identity-based issues.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging in creative problem solving and taking initiative, while utilizing a solutions-oriented approach and exhibiting flexibility and good judgement in a complex organizational ecosystem.
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Willingness to travel within Northern and Central California, and occasionally to Southern California, as well as other parts of the country for speaking events, meetings, and conferences.
  • People with direct personal or professional experience with impacted communities are encouraged to apply for this position.

Total Compensation

We are committed to creating and maintaining a diverse workforce through equity initiatives, which includes equitable pay practices. Competitive compensation is commensurate with experience. Starting salary range for this position is $153,270 - $178,815 annually.

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.

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) a resume, (2) a cover letter. 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: Job Application for Immigrants’ Rights Program Director at ACLU of Northern California (

The ACLU NorCal 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 NorCal 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.  ACLU NorCal will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

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