Each year IJC awards two-year Community Fellowships to at least 10 exceptional college graduates with the linguistic skills, passion, and cultural competency to work with diverse immigrant communities. IJC trains Fellows to be experts in immigration law and advocacy.
Community Fellows conduct outreach, screen, and aid immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”), Green Card, citizenship applications, and more.
Community Fellows become Department of Justice Accredited Representatives, which allows them to represent clients before USCIS. Embedded within immigrant communities, they serve as first responders to our program.
IJC Fellows serve for two years and are provided a full salary and benefits.
Community Fellows have requested 4,886 application fee waivers for low-income clients
They have saved low-income clients nearly $3.2 million in application fee waivers
Community fellows have won 95% of cases closed so far
If you work at a college or university and want to connect with IJC about recruitment, click here.
What is the model for Community Fellow placement?
Some of our Community Fellows are “in-placed” which means that they work four days a week at a community based organization and one day a week at IJC headquarters where they receive supervision from IJC attorneys. Other Community Fellows are “out-placed” which means they become employees of their host organizations and receive supervision directly from their hosts.
Fellows are placed with host organizations largely based on the fellow’s language abilities and the host organization’s need. To the extent feasible, we will solicit fellow input into their host organization before making final placement decisions.
What qualities make an IJC fellowship applicant a strong candidate?
IJC seeks Fellows who are smart, compassionate, and passionate about justice for immigrants. IJC also seeks Fellows dedicated to the idea of a Fellowship program – you give us two years of hard work and we will make sure you will be immersed in immigration law and helping others who likely would not have had an attorney or advocate otherwise. Almost all IJC Fellows speak a language in addition to English.
Does it matter what language other than English I speak?
We require Community Fellow applicants to speak a language in addition to English. The language that is in highest demand by host organizations is Spanish. We also have Fellows who speak Mandarin, Haitian Creole, French, Arabic, Korean, and Urdu.
How does the application process work for Community Fellows?
There is an online application for Community Fellows which opens in February each year. Applicants must submit a résumé, transcript, two letters of recommendation, write a Statement of Interest, and answer an essay question. Selected applicants will be interviewed and selected in the spring.
What is the IJC Fellowship experience like?
Because our Fellows are placed at many different partnering host organizations every Fellow’s experience is unique. Community Fellows work on a high volume of “light touch” cases. That means Community Fellows spend most days meeting with clients, conducting screenings and completing applications. The most common types of applications that Community Fellows work on are applications for naturalization, DACA, green card renewals, and Temporary Protected Status.
While the everyday work environment is different for each Fellow, all Fellows are a part of IJC’s team and together are provided:
Monthly training and professional development opportunities
Access to an immense network of professional immigration legal service providers—both organizations and individuals;
Career planning assistance including grad school/law school preparation;
Partnership with a large community of peers;
Invitations to IJC sponsored social and professional events;
Upon completion of the program, membership to IJC’s Alumni group;
A team of committed lawyers and professionals who want to help you succeed.
Am I an employee of IJC or of the host organization?
Roughly half of IJC's Community Fellows are "out-placed" Fellows, and as such they are employees of their host organizations. The other half of Community Fellows work directly for IJC and receive benefits and supervision through IJC. First year Community Fellows earn $43,000 each year and second year Community Fellows earn $45,000.
Will I have an opportunity to work with IJC outside of my host organization?
Yes! IJC hosts monthly a training for all Fellows, in addition to clinics, social gatherings, and professional events for Fellows.
A primary purpose of IJC is to expand access to counsel. Therefore, if there is an emerging critical legal need, we may mobilize Fellows to respond. For example, in the past we have sent fellows on two-week rotations to Texas to represent detained families.
Will Immigrant Justice Corps sponsor me for a green card or skilled worker visa?
No. All fellows must be eligible for work authorization in the U.S. for the full two years of the fellowship.
May I submit more than two letters of recommendation?
No. Our online application system only allows for two letters of recommendation to be uploaded to the system. We strongly prefer receiving one letter from a professor and one from a current or former employer or internship supervisor.
If chosen, may I defer?
No. Fellows who are selected must be ready to start the program in September.
Do I need to submit an official transcript?
No. Please upload a pdf of a school-issued transcript.
Can my resume be more than one page?
Yes, though please limit yourself to two pages.
Do I have to finish my application before my recommenders can submit their letters?
No. Your recommenders can upload their letters as soon as you enter their information into the recommendation application step.
Will I be placed outside the City?
Maybe. Approximately one-third of the Corps is hosted in Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, Connecticut, Texas and northern New Jersey, to meet the extraordinary demand for immigration law services in the counties surrounding New York City. We anticipate continuing these placements. However, the majority of our Community Fellows are placed within New York City.
What kinds of things do Community Fellows do after the Fellowship?
Many of our Community Fellows become fellows because they want to go to law school and gain practical experience before doing so. The fellowship is also an excellent way to decide whether a career in law is really your passion. In addition to law school, Community Fellows have gone on to attend other graduate school and to continue working as legal advocates in immigration and other areas of law.