Civic Engagement and Policy Analyst


Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), headquartered in Chicago with a DC office, promotes the rights of non-citizens through direct legal service, impact litigation, and advocacy. NIJC is seeking a civic engagement and policy analyst to assist in developing relationships with communities of color, implementing its strategic advocacy on immigration-related issues, primarily at the state and local level that may intersect with issues at the federal level.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Work with NIJC's policy, communications, litigation and direct service teams to identify advocacy priorities and strategies to protect the rights of immigrants, particularly at the state and local levels.
  • Identify emerging issues in collaboration with the detention, LGBT, asylum, and direct legal service teams and develop policy recommendations.
  • Analyze laws and policies and collaborate with grassroots groups, advocacy groups, and legal aid organizations to identify common priorities and strategies to protect families and those who are targets of immigration enforcement, detention and deportation
  • Participate in formal and informal coalitions of legal aid and advocacy organizations to advocate for policy reform; draft and edit statements, reports, sign-on letters, and other jointly-produced products
  • Conduct interviews and gather data to support advocacy and educational materials on emerging policy issues
  • Assist in identifying and working with NIJC clients and former clients who are interested in working with NIJC's communications and policy teams to advance proposed reforms
  • Engage in relationship building with communities of color
  • Work with NIJC's legal services team to support communities on immigration issues, particularly enforcement practices
  • Advocate for state and local legislation/policies
  • Serve as point of contact for members of the General Assembly, County boards, and other local and state officials.
  • Draft fact sheets, reports, etc. regarding state and local legislation/policies as it relates to immigrants
  • Provide presentations on state and local legislation (including sanctuary cities ordinances)
  • Collaborate with community-based partners to advocate for state and local legislation/policies
  • Draft reports/policy briefs on immigration issues related to due process and detention
  • Maintain and develop relationships with elected-officials, including City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois legislature, and other governmental agencies
  • Represent NIJC and its priorities at external meetings
  • Participate in grant proposal development, editing, review and submission
  • Stay up-to-date on immigration issues and while educating staff and policy makers
  • Closely monitor legal, policy, and political developments with regard to immigration detention and enforcement and create rapid response advocacy strategies when necessary
  • Identify ways to effectively communicate NIJC's policy recommendations and to a broad audience, using the online components of NIJC's web and social media presence as well as press outreach
  • Other tasks as assigned

Competencies: To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies.

  • Interpersonal Skills – Builds relationships with staff and external stakeholders; Maintains confidentiality; Listens and remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds concisely or presents positions in a compelling manner; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style according to audience; Presents numerical data effectively.
  • Managing People - Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; Solicits and applies program participant feedback, as well as feedback from collaborating agencies; Fosters quality focus in others; Improves processes and services; Continually works to improve supervisory skills.
  • Quality Management - Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.
  • Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Benefits organization through outside activities; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; Takes initiatives; Uses time efficiently; Plans for additional resources; Sets goals and objectives; Organizes or schedules other people and their tasks in a way that ensures coverage at all times; Develops realistic action plans.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Treats coworkers and participants with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
  • Adaptability - Adapts to changes in the work environment; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events; Willing to address urgent needs outside of regular business hours.

Qualifications: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Education and/or Experience: Minimum of two years of related professional experience; graduate degree preferred.
  • Language Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret regulations, legislation, including immigration laws and regulations, legal memos, case law and related materials. Spanish language abilities preferred.
  • Understanding of Immigration Law and Policy: Previous experience with immigration law and/or policy is preferred.
  • Reasoning, Other Skills and Abilities: Experience making public presentations and preparing and delivering testimony to committees of the government. Experience creating persuasive written documents for external consumption. Experience analyzing the complex policy arena and crafting appropriate responses.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand and walk. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include ability to drive and visually monitor program participants.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Able and available to travel as needed to present information, develop or present solutions and to participate with external organizations to seek changes needed to make the service delivery more efficient or effective or to close newly identified gaps.
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Human Resources and Administration Office at (312) 660-1433.

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