Immigrants’ Rights Fellowship

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (“ACLU-PA”) seeks recent judicial law clerks or lawyers with 1-5 years’ experience to apply for an Immigrants’ Rights Fellowship. The Fellow will work on a range of immigrants’ rights issues in Pennsylvania and will assist the national ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project (“ACLU IRP”) with nationwide immigrants’ rights class actions. The fellow may elect to work in the Philadelphia or Pittsburgh office. The fellowship will be for an eighteen-month term, to begin in September 2019.


The Immigrants’ Rights Fellow will litigate cases and participate in other forms of advocacy to advance the civil and human rights of noncitizens in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The ACLU-PA’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal and policy advocacy for maximum impact. In keeping with that approach, the Immigrants’ Rights Fellow will work closely with attorneys as well as other advocates on cases, advocacy projects, and campaigns. Approximately 75% of the Fellow’s time will be on projects with the ACLU-PA, and 25% with the ACLU IRP. 

The Fellow’s work will focus on challenging immigration enforcement abuses. Among other responsibilities, the Fellow will: 

  • Litigate cases challenging unconstitutional detention and removal;

  • Help establish protections against other legal abuses impacting non-citizens;

  • Participate in advocacy campaigns to further advance immigrants’ rights at the state and local level; 

  • Coordinate and provide support to raid response networks in Pennsylvania; 

  • Collaborate with, and provide support to, allied immigration and immigrants’ rights organizations throughout Pennsylvania; and

  • Provide litigation support to ACLU IRP on nationwide immigrants’ rights class actions.

The Fellow will have a choice to work either in the ACLU-PA’s Philadelphia or Pittsburgh offices. The position will involve some travel throughout the state and to the ACLU IRP office in New York City. The Fellow will be co-supervised by the ACLU-PA’s Legal Director and Immigrants’ Rights Attorney.


Candidates should have

  • Demonstrated commitment to immigrants’ rights;

  • A law degree and admission to at least one state bar;

  • Knowledge of immigration law; 

  • At least one year of litigation experience or a clerkship;

  • Excellent research, writing, analytic, interpersonal, communication, and time-management skills and attention to detail; 

  • Qualities of patience, emotional intelligence, and respect; 

  • A global mindset, including the ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, orientations, ages, beliefs, classes, and geographies;

  • Flexibility to work occasional evenings and weekends, travel regularly to different parts of the state, and, at times, to other parts of the country.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and liberties;

  • Detention and removal litigation experience; 

  • Federal court litigation experience;

  • Public speaking experience; 

  • Spanish language fluency.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary range is $60,000 annually, depending on experience and within the parameters of the ACLU-PA compensation scale. The position is funded for at least 18 months and may be extended. 

Excellent benefits include generous vacation and sick leave; individual/family employer-provided health and dental insurance; life insurance and long-term disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; and 10 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Application Procedure 

E-mail a letter of interest and resume to Witold Walczak, legal director, to with a subject line of “Immigrants’ Rights Fellowship.” Application materials sent via postal mail or fax will not be accepted. No calls, please. Applications will be accepted until August 30, 2019. 

The ACLU-PA is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. 

The ACLU-PA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status. 

About the ACLU of Pennsylvania

The ACLU-PA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization, dedicated to defending and enhancing personal freedoms protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights through litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education. It is a fast-paced environment that addresses headline-making issues with powerful personal stories and dynamic, precedent-setting solutions. The ACLU-PA has three offices, ten volunteer chapters, over 40,000 members and donors, more than 35 full-time employees, and a $5.3 million operating budget.

The ACLU-PA comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union (the “Union”) of Pennsylvania and the ACLU Foundation (the “Foundation”) of Pennsylvania. The Union is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, and ACLU membership dues fund its lobbying work. Donations to the Union are not tax-deductible. The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Foundation funds support litigation and public education efforts. Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. The immigrants’ rights attorney is an employee of the ACLU Foundation of Pennsylvania. 

Both the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the ACLU Foundation of Pennsylvania have the same overall mission, and share office space, employees, and the same board of directors. The two entities are jointly known by the term “ACLU of Pennsylvania.” 

ACLU-PA’s hiring process will comply with Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards (“Ban the Box”) ordinance. 

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