US Immigration Program – Legal Fellow

Through our Eyes on ICE Project, the WITNESS U.S. team has focused on supporting directly impacted immigrant communities to use video to expose abuses by immigration enforcement and advocate for their rights through in-person trainings, resources, case studies, videos and more.

We’re now looking for a legal fellow (paid!) to help adapt portions of our landmark Video as Evidence Guide to a U.S. immigration specific context and to help engage with legal networks to ensure these valuable resources are reaching the right places. The adapted guide will focus on how video can and is being used to fight deportations in the courtroom, grant asylum, and support immigration legal proceedings. By equipping communities under threat of deportation and at risk of abuse by ICE and Border Patrol with these tools and legal knowledge, we can better ensure that videos captured on the frontlines are used to secure justice in and out of the courtroom. And by working directly with legal networks helping to uphold and defend immigrant rights, we can better bridge crucial community knowledge with creative legal strategies in the fight to advocate for immigrant communities across the country.

This fellowship work could include:

  • Conducting research around using video as evidence in the U.S. in order to inform the adapted guide. Research areas include but are not limited to:
    • What makes video more/less likely to be used as evidence?
    • How are judges looking at eyewitness video?
    • How do you physically get the video into the courtroom? (Most courtrooms in middle of country don’t have a way to screen videos in court)
    • Using protest footage
    • Chain of custody in the U.S.
    • Submitting videos in the U.S.
    • Authenticity of videos in the U.S.? Are people questioning video credibility? How do we film and store footage in a way that proves authenticity?
  • Drafting 1-2 case studies about how video has been used as evidence in immigration proceedings in the U.S. Case studies may include conducting interviews with key stakeholders – for example: interviewing immigration attorneys about how they presented video in their cases
  • Working with WITNESS’ U.S. Program manager and coordinator to develop sample collection plans or shot lists for what to document before/during/after an incident with ICE or Border Patrol. Sample collection plans should focus on specific violations that occur during various enforcement scenarios i.e. unlawful traffic stops, unlawful home entry and excessive force during workplace raids, etc.  
  • Incorporating information around the Right to Record in the U.S. and limitations around it (e.g. states with two party consent laws)
  • Working with WITNESS’ U.S. Program manager and coordinator to incorporate learnings from research into community training resources
  • Strengthen relationships with legal networks around the country to help inform and promote video as evidence guide

Fellow requirements:

  • Legal background
  • Interest in use of video as evidence in U.S. court systems broadly
  • Networks to help build and promote work

Application materials:

  • Send an email to fellowships@witness.org with “US Legal Fellow + Your Name” in the subject line
  • Resume
  • Cover letter

Commitment: 20 hours a week for 8-10 weeks

Payment: $5K

Location: NYC preferred, but flexible

Applications closed: January 11

Hoped for start date: mid-February

WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer.  People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply.  Authorization to work in the U.S. is required

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