Volunteer Opportunities


Representation in Defensive Asylum Cases


National Immigrant Justice Center


Can be done anywhere



Volunteer attorneys represent defensive asylum applicants at their Master Calendar Hearings- preliminary hearings similar to arraignment hearings in criminal cases or status conferences in civil cases-and their Merit Hearings-the actual trial date during which an immigration judge will take testimony, give the applicant an opportunity to provide evidence, and allow for cross-examination by the government's attorneys. A typical merits hearing lasts half a day and involves the direct examination of 1-2 witnesses, including the client, and possibly an expert regarding the client's medical/psychological condition or conditions in the applicant's country of origin. Prior to the hearing, volunteer attorneys prepare a trial brief and the same documentation required for an affirmative asylum case. Given the extensive time and commitment and expenditure of resources needed for asylum cases, NIJC generally partners with law firms.

Other Immigration Opportunities

About the organization

Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The National Immigrant Justice Center provides immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.Our staff of attorneys and paralegals are ready to provide immigration legal help to:

  • Immigrants applying for family-based permanent resident status and citizenship
  • Survivors or witnesses of violence seeking U visas
  • Individuals applying for Temporary Protected Status or NACARA
  • Immigrant survivors of human trafficking
  • Individuals facing deportation
  • Asylum seekers
  • LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants fleeing persecution
  • Detained immigrant adults and children
  • DACA and other humanitarian relief
  • NIJC charges income-based fees for some consultations and services.