American Gateways http://www.americangateways.org Sat, 08 Dec 2018 16:33:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 https://i0.wp.com/www.americangateways.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-american-gateways.png?fit=32%2C32 American Gateways http://www.americangateways.org 32 32 111284648 We’re hiring for multiple positions! http://www.americangateways.org/were-hiring-for-multiple-positions/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 00:40:51 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1178 American Gateways is now hiring a legal caseworker, staff attorney, and coordinator of pro bono programs and communications. Find job descriptions and applicant requirements below. If interested, please contact Griselda Barrera via email. LEGAL CASEWORKER Summary Description: The legal caseworker will...

Keep Reading →

The post We’re hiring for multiple positions! appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
American Gateways is now hiring a legal caseworker, staff attorney, and coordinator of pro bono programs and communications. Find job descriptions and applicant requirements below. If interested, please contact Griselda Barrera via email.

LEGAL CASEWORKER

Summary Description:

The legal caseworker will be responsible for supporting the legal team. The ideal candidate for this position has a strong work ethic, works well on their own and in a team, has exceptional problem-solving skills, and is comfortable working a fast-paced and dynamic workplace.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Support AG attorneys and caseworkers, including but not limited to: making copies, answering and directing phone calls and greeting clients; coordinate appointments, including all correspondence and logistics necessary; draft documents and letters from existing; manage legal documentation and correspondence in strict confidence; correspond with the  court and clients when needed; implement and improve upon administrative processes for more efficient workflow
  • Maintain our client Database—E-immigration
  • Assist with front desk duties when needed: screening prospective clients, returning phone calls, and distributing mail, and other duties as needed

Required Work Experience/Skills:

  • Bilingual in Spanish and English
  • 2+ years’ working experience as a legal assistant, or administrative support team member
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Highly organized and detail-oriented
  • Some experience working with survivors of crime, utilizing a trauma informed approach
  • Experience working with the immigrant community preferred
  • Able to meet deadlines and to keep records of the client’s files and paperwork
  • Creative Problem Solving a willingness to be flexible to respond to the shifting needs of the immigrant community we serve
  • Able to take direction and work independently
  • Familiarity with MS Office
  • Prior nonprofit or Administrative Assistant experience a plus

STAFF ATTORNEY

Summary Description:

The staff attorney will provide high quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants throughout Central Texas.  Responsibilities include representing immigrants who qualify for VAWA, U visas, T visas, representation and consultations for potential asylum seekers, Family Based clients, those detained by ICE, and other immigrants who may qualify for immigration relief.  Staff attorneys are also required to maintain program statistics, client databases and files, and provide reports as required. Education and outreach to the immigrant community on various legal issues may also be required of the staff attorney.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • In-office consultation for clients including: VAWA, U visa, T visa, asylum, detention and removal, and any other applicable relief.
  • Screen immigrants in detention (T Don. Hutto Residential Center) for eligibility for services provided by AG including U & T visa
  • Provide Know Your Rights presentations and Workshops at the T Don Hutto Residential Center
  • Represent eligible immigrants in petitioning for U & T visas, and in bond and removal hearings and before US CIS
  • Mentor pro bono attorneys representing clients
  • Participate in community education and outreach activities as needed
  • Maintain client databases and caseload, as determined with supervisor
  • Provide monthly statistical reports of caseload and program activities
  • Other duties as needed

Required Work Experience/Skills:

  • Dedication to and experience in serving low income populations and social justice generally
  • One – Two years of legal experience in immigration law, or in a non-profit organization serving low-income persons
  • Bilingual in Spanish and English
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail

Required Education/Qualifications:

  • JD from accredited university
  • Bar Admission in any US state  (Texas preferred)

Preferred Education/Experience:

  • Proficiency in any other language
  • Criminal Law background
  • Immigration clinic experience
  • Immigration court experience
  • Other court experience

COORDINATOR OF PRO BONO PROGRAMS & COMMUNICATION

Summary Description:

Under the supervision of Executive Director and Deputy Director, the Coordinator of Pro Bono Programs & Communications will be responsible for managing American Gateways’ communications, volunteer and pro bono programs. This position will develop, coordinate, and maintain the Communications Strategy for the agency by developing and implementing communications and social media plans, drafting and/or reviewing all press releases, speaking at public events as needed, maintaining the organization website, supporting donor communication, and working with the Outreach Coordinator and other staff on public-facing projects.

This position will also recruit and oversee the training of pro bono attorneys, coordinate the screening of cases for placement with pro bono attorneys, assign mentor attorneys, and coordinate and supervise the volunteer program. The Coordinator will also be required to maintain an up to date pro bono program database, produce programs statistics, and provide reports as required. This position will regularly organize CLE events for attorneys and think strategically about how the pro bono program can support the organization’s advocacy, communications, and development goals.

Other responsibilities of the position include supporting the Executive Director and Deputy Director and working closely with the Development Coordinator in organizational development, including development and implementation of the development plan, donor communications, grant applications and management, database management, and the planning and implementation of individual fundraising.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop, implement, and maintain the overall Communications strategy for AG communications, including press and media, social media, website, and other communications
  • Develop and implement a Pro Bono Strategy and plan for the entire agency, which includes recruitment, training, case placement, and mentorship
  • Develop, implement, and maintain a volunteer plan for the agency.
  • Coordinate with the volunteer and outreach coordinators to ensure that the overall volunteer and communications strategy are being implemented
  • Maintain database and program statistics
  • Provide statistical reports to the Executive Director and Deputy Director as needed
  • Speak on behalf of AG at public events, hearings, meetings, etc.
  • Support the Executive Director and Deputy Director and work with the Development Coordinator in grant applications, reporting, and management
  • Other agency duties, as required

Required Work Experience/Skills:

  • Experience in Project Management
  • Experience in communications strategies and social media
  • Min. 3 years of experience working in non-profit sector or related field
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Proven commitment to the mission of the organization

Preferred Experience/Skills:

  • Experience in broad areas of immigration law
  • Bilingual in Spanish and English
  • Working experience with volunteers or pro bono attorneys
  • Experience in public speaking

Required Education/Qualifications:

  • JD from accredited university

The post We’re hiring for multiple positions! appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1178
FAMILY DETENTION AND ASYLUM SEEKERS- San Antonio, TX http://www.americangateways.org/family-detention-and-asylum-seekers-san-antonio-tx/ Thu, 01 Nov 2018 20:17:02 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1140 In anticipation of newly arriving asylum seekers, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun to release detained families with little preparation and no support.  ICE is now simply dropping recently detained families at bus stations without any guidance on their departure...

Keep Reading →

The post FAMILY DETENTION AND ASYLUM SEEKERS- San Antonio, TX appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
In anticipation of newly arriving asylum seekers, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun to release detained families with little preparation and no support.  ICE is now simply dropping recently detained families at bus stations without any guidance on their departure information and without fully understanding the next steps in their immigration cases upon release.  These individuals often do not understand the legal process or how to be reunited with their sponsors.

American Gateways is deeply troubled by this latest immigration policy change.  “This most recent inhumane practice, of simply leaving vulnerable parents and children at a bus stop, shows once again the callousness of our immigration system” said Rebecca Lightsey, Executive Director of American Gateways.

To help this very vulnerable population American Gateways is providing legal information and assistance to these families.  American Gateways will be helping the families understand the legal process and their legal obligations under our current immigration laws.  It will also be giving these individuals information on how to find legal assistance when they reach their destination.

“We urge ICE to treat all families with humanity and dignity,” Lightsey said.

American Gateways is an Austin-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that has served the Central Texas immigrant community for more than 30 years. Our mission is to champion the dignity and human rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking through exceptional immigration legal services, at low or no cost, education, and advocacy. With offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Waco, we serve 20 counties throughout the region.

The post FAMILY DETENTION AND ASYLUM SEEKERS- San Antonio, TX appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1140
Changes to “Public Charge” Rule Will Harm Families & Children http://www.americangateways.org/changes-to-public-charge-rule-will-harm-families-children/ Tue, 16 Oct 2018 17:06:26 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1135 On October 10th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new rule changing the definition of what is known as “public charge”. The proposed changes would make it easier to deny residency petitions (also known as “green cards”) based...

Keep Reading →

The post Changes to “Public Charge” Rule Will Harm Families & Children appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
On October 10th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new rule changing the definition of what is known as “public charge”. The proposed changes would make it easier to deny residency petitions (also known as “green cards”) based on household income 250% of the federal poverty guideline or below, complicated health conditions, large family size, low education level, and other discretionary factors. Though the government already had a policy in place of examining cash-based benefits, the proposed rule would expand it to include non-cash benefits like Medicaid, SNAP, and Section 8 Housing. This rule also includes a provision to require at minimum a $10,000 bond for those whose incomes are less than 250% of federal poverty guidelines and to monitor current LPR holders for 5 years after their petitions are approved to ensure that they are not “‘abusing” the benefits system.

We serve clients who make 200% of the poverty guidelines or below. Thus, these changes will impact all of our clients if this administration finalizes it as published. Many of our clients’ children receive public benefits, and we are concerned about the “chilling effect” this rule will have on them. Though the rule published, in contrast to previous leaked drafts, states that family members’ usage of public benefits will not factor into the evaluation of the petitioner, many families are already scared to access programs that they need. Local agencies have already reported a decrease in applications for Medicaid and SNAP for US citizen children of mixed status families.

We strongly oppose any attempt to use immigration status to dissuade immigrant families from legally accessing means to support themselves, as well as attempts to limit legal processes for immigration status based on wealth, health, or education. Before the administration finalizes the rule, they must read and respond to every unique public comment submitted about the proposed regulation. We urge each of our supporters to submit their own and share this information with their circles. To do so, you can use this site that the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition created to help concerned community members through the comment process. All comments must be posted by December 10th.

The post Changes to “Public Charge” Rule Will Harm Families & Children appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1135
AMERICAN GATEWAYS REJECTS FAMILY DETENTION AS A SOLUTION TO “ZERO TOLERANCE” POLICY http://www.americangateways.org/american-gateways-rejects-family-detention-as-a-solution-to-zero-tolerance-policy/ Thu, 21 Jun 2018 14:14:44 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1056 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2018 Austin, TX – We are extremely disappointed to learn that the Trump Administration’s response to widespread demand to end the separation of families is to instead keep them detained indefinitely. The Executive Order, signed...

Keep Reading →

The post AMERICAN GATEWAYS REJECTS FAMILY DETENTION AS A SOLUTION TO “ZERO TOLERANCE” POLICY appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 20, 2018

Austin, TX – We are extremely disappointed to learn that the Trump Administration’s response to widespread demand to end the separation of families is to instead keep them detained indefinitely. The Executive Order, signed this afternoon, is unacceptable for several reasons.

First, it continues to perpetuate the myth that family separation is the product of bad legislation or court decisions rather than a cruel and deliberate policy choice made by the Administration.

Second, thousands of families have already been torn apart by this Administration’s policy. This new Executive Order does nothing to help those who have been cruelly separated. Moreover, it does not guarantee an end to family separation as the temporary family holding facilities contemplated in this EO lack the proper licensing to detain and hold children. Rather, it introduces even more uncertainty into an already chaotic immigration process.

Finally, and most importantly, as we have learned from experience, family detention, is an inhumane, impractical, and unsustainable practice traumatizes children and families who have already faced significant trauma. “It cannot be stated enough that the victims of this policy are here fleeing persecution,” explained Rebecca Lightsey, Executive Director. “To take survivors of violence, parents and children alike, and lock them up in detention just because they’re looking for help is just plain wrong.”

“We urge on the Administration to reconsider the policy outlined in the EO drafted today and instead implement community-based and humane alternatives to family detention and separation,” Lightsey.

American Gateways is an Austin-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that has served the Central Texas immigrant community for more than 30 years. Our mission is to champion the dignity and human rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking through exceptional immigration legal services, at low or no cost, education, and advocacy. With offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Waco, we serve 20 counties throughout the region.

The post AMERICAN GATEWAYS REJECTS FAMILY DETENTION AS A SOLUTION TO “ZERO TOLERANCE” POLICY appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1056
June Fiesta for Immigrant Heritage Month http://www.americangateways.org/june-fiesta-for-immigrant-heritage-month/ Sat, 09 Jun 2018 14:32:16 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1051 Please join our annual party in celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month. We’ll be gathering at the Sahara Lounge on Webberville Road in East Austin on June 24th to enjoy food, drinks, and music from around the world. All are welcome!...

Keep Reading →

The post June Fiesta for Immigrant Heritage Month appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
Please join our annual party in celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month. We’ll be gathering at the Sahara Lounge on Webberville Road in East Austin on June 24th to enjoy food, drinks, and music from around the world. All are welcome!

More information is on our Facebook page.

The post June Fiesta for Immigrant Heritage Month appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1051
ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS REINSTATES FUNDING FOR LEGAL ORIENTATION PROGRAM http://www.americangateways.org/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-reinstates-funding-for-legal-orientation-program/ Tue, 01 May 2018 23:02:57 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1033 Austin/San Antonio – American Gateways is relieved to learn that Attorney General Sessions has decided to “un-pause” funding for the Legal Orientation Program (LOP). As we have long maintained, this program guarantees access to accurate and essential legal education for underrepresented...

Keep Reading →

The post ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS REINSTATES FUNDING FOR LEGAL ORIENTATION PROGRAM appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
Austin/San Antonio – American Gateways is relieved to learn that Attorney General Sessions has decided to “un-pause” funding for the Legal Orientation Program (LOP). As we have long maintained, this program guarantees access to accurate and essential legal education for underrepresented and low-income immigrants facing deportation. Moreover, this program improves the efficiency of the immigration court system and ultimately produces a net savings for taxpayers. “This is tremendous news for the immigrants we serve,” said Rebecca Lightsey, Executive Director. “They will be able to get basic, critical information about the legal process and their legal rights through our incredible team of lawyers and case workers.”

 

We were heartened to see such an outpouring of support for the immigrant community when the program cuts were announced. From religious leaders and elected officials to supporters throughout the community, people spoke up and stood up for immigrants’ rights to due process. We especially thank Representatives Doggett and Castro, as well as State Representative Gina Hinojosa for their outspoken support.

 

Nevertheless, the temporary cessation of LOP funding underscores the vulnerability of low-income immigrants throughout the region and the country, particularly those in detention and facing deportation. “Access to basic legal information, if not full-on representation, while going through a court process with such high stakes should be guaranteed,” said Lightsey. “The basic human rights of tens of thousands shouldn’t hinge on a single funding stream.” As we continue to serve our LOP sites, American Gateways will continue to strengthen and expand our existing programs to ensure that they are sustainable over the long term. We also call on the Trump Administration and our elected officials to do more to protect the rights of immigrants guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and international human rights norms.

 

 

 

The post ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS REINSTATES FUNDING FOR LEGAL ORIENTATION PROGRAM appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1033
“Living in limbo in the land of the free”–Waco Tribune Guest Article about DACA http://www.americangateways.org/living-in-limbo-in-the-land-of-the-free-waco-tribune-guest-article-about-daca/ Tue, 01 May 2018 16:53:37 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1028 Grecia Chavira is on our Waco Advisory Committee and has been an amazing supporter of AG. Last week, her op-ed about the uncertainty that people with DACA face was published by the Waco Tribune. She comments on how the uncertainty...

Keep Reading →

The post “Living in limbo in the land of the free”–Waco Tribune Guest Article about DACA appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
Grecia Chavira is on our Waco Advisory Committee and has been an amazing supporter of AG. Last week, her op-ed about the uncertainty that people with DACA face was published by the Waco Tribune.

She comments on how the uncertainty surround DACA has affected them:

But now we may be forced to leave our jobs and possibly our country. Living in this limbo state has been emotionally and physically detrimental to us. We’re not asking for handouts or for things to be made easy or free. We know we have to work hard for what we want. And we have worked.

Read the entire piece here: http://www.wacotrib.com/opinion/columns/guest_columns/grecia-chavira-guest-columnist-living-in-limbo-in-the-land/article_8b7a9038-df19-57f2-8f2a-636f548a0f4f.html

 

The post “Living in limbo in the land of the free”–Waco Tribune Guest Article about DACA appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1028
DC Federal Judge Rules DACA Must Stay, Pending 90-Day Appeal Window http://www.americangateways.org/dc-federal-judge-rules-daca-must-stay-pending-90-day-appeal-window/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 20:05:31 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1019 Exciting news out of the Federal District Court in DC this week! Judge John D. Bates ruled that DACA protections must stay in place and that USCIS must accept initial applications, given the government’s decision to terminate the program was...

Keep Reading →

The post DC Federal Judge Rules DACA Must Stay, Pending 90-Day Appeal Window appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
Exciting news out of the Federal District Court in DC this week! Judge John D. Bates ruled that DACA protections must stay in place and that USCIS must accept initial applications, given the government’s decision to terminate the program was based on unsubstantiated allegations that it was unlawful. However, the judge gave DHS 90 days to submit a better explanation for their decision, so USCIS will not be accepting initial applications right away. If DHS fails to do so, initial applications will be accepted.

 

If you have more questions about your eligibility to apply for DACA (initial or renewal), don’t hesitate to visit our Austin or San Antonio offices during walk-in hours or call our Waco office to schedule an appointment. See below for more information about our locations & office hours.

The post DC Federal Judge Rules DACA Must Stay, Pending 90-Day Appeal Window appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1019
AMERICAN GATEWAYS RESPONDS TO DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ABRUPT ANNOUNCEMENT TO CANCEL PROGRAM PROVIDING BASIC LEGAL EDUCATION TO THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS IN REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS http://www.americangateways.org/american-gateways-responds-to-department-of-justice-abrupt-announcement-to-cancel-program-providing-basic-legal-education-to-thousands-of-immigrants-in-removal-proceedings/ Mon, 16 Apr 2018 22:41:42 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1009 Austin/San Antonio – American Gateways is deeply saddened and frustrated to learn that the Department of Justice has announced the discontinuation of all funding for the Legal Orientation Program (“LOP”) and Immigration Court Helpdesk (“ICH”) programs, effective at the end...

Keep Reading →

The post AMERICAN GATEWAYS RESPONDS TO DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ABRUPT ANNOUNCEMENT TO CANCEL PROGRAM PROVIDING BASIC LEGAL EDUCATION TO THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS IN REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
Austin/San Antonio – American Gateways is deeply saddened and frustrated to learn that the Department of Justice has announced the discontinuation of all funding for the Legal Orientation Program (“LOP”) and Immigration Court Helpdesk (“ICH”) programs, effective at the end of April and July respectively. With sites across the country, these programs provide basic legal education to thousands of immigrants in removal proceedings who would not otherwise have access to legal counsel. The DOJ-funded programs were implemented by the Vera Institute for Justice, who in turn partnered with a national network of legal services providers. American Gateways serves as the LOP provider at three immigration detention centers in the region, including the South Texas Detention Complex, the Karnes County Residential Center, and the South Texas Residential Center. We are also the Helpdesk (ICH) provider at the San Antonio Immigration Court.

At an annual cost of just over $10 million, the LOP and ICH programs served more than 53,000 individuals and families facing deportation each year. Through presentations and workshops, LOP and ICH providers explained the immigration system and court processes, the legal rights of immigrants in deportation proceedings, and any potential legal pathways for those appearing before the courts to remain in the United States. It also created a mechanism for direct referrals to pro bono attorneys willing to provide representation.

The abrupt cancellation of the program marks the Trump Administration’s most recent assault on the immigrant community and their utter disdain for fundamental human rights. “These actions are an affront to basic principles of due process and equal access to justice,” said Rebecca Lightsey, Executive Director. “The LOP and ICH programs insured that our team of attorneys and legal professionals were on the ground, providing basic services for thousands of the most vulnerable in our community. Those affected include asylum seekers and survivors of violence and human trafficking as well as countless Central Texas families who have seen a loved one apprehended and carried away by ICE.”

“Although the Justice Department’s move represents a significant blow to our region, we will not be deterred. In the coming hours, days, and weeks we will be working to respond to this challenge and continue the fight for immigrant justice.”

The post AMERICAN GATEWAYS RESPONDS TO DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ABRUPT ANNOUNCEMENT TO CANCEL PROGRAM PROVIDING BASIC LEGAL EDUCATION TO THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS IN REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1009
Tomorrow in Waco: Bienvenidos Bash! http://www.americangateways.org/tomorrow-in-waco-bienvenidos-bash/ Tue, 27 Mar 2018 01:14:48 +0000 http://www.americangateways.org/?p=1004 We invite you to celebrate the first anniversary of our Waco office and learn more about the important work we are doing in the community. Join us for eats provided by Milo Biscuit Company, live entertainment from JB Smith, and...

Keep Reading →

The post Tomorrow in Waco: Bienvenidos Bash! appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
We invite you to celebrate the first anniversary of our Waco office and learn more about the important work we are doing in the community. Join us for eats provided by Milo Biscuit Company, live entertainment from JB Smith, and a silent auction with proceeds benefiting our continued work in Waco. The event takes place at Balcones Distillery. Tickets are $35. This is 21+ event. Find more information here.

The post Tomorrow in Waco: Bienvenidos Bash! appeared first on American Gateways.

]]>
1004