Detention and LOP Information Line Internship

"I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything, But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." - Edward Everett Hale

Our interns

Our interns

About the Internship

The ABA Commission on Immigration is seeking talented law clerks and interns to assist in cutting-edge, individualized assistance to detainees held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The ABA is the only organization in the country that accepts calls from all 200 detention facilities across the nation with a goal of ensuring that immigration laws respect the due process rights of immigrants, benefit adult and children immigrants and refugees detained by the ICE, and promote pro bono practices across the country. Duties of interns consist of communicating with immigration detainees in ICE custody in detention centers, determining what information may assist them, and assembling the appropriate materials. Interns are trained in identifying specific complaints regarding the condition of detention centers and they assist in drafting complaint letters that are forwarded to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Office of the Inspector General, and the appropriate ICE Field Office Director. In addition, interns develop new material addressing hot topic immigration issues. Through their work, interns hone their legal research, writing and advocacy knowledge and skills, and gain in-depth experience in immigration issues encountered by detainees. Clerkships and internships provide exceptional experience for developing a career in the field of immigration or human rights. Our office has a collegial and supportive atmosphere. The Commission’s staff makes it a priority to continue the mentoring of interns after the completion of their internships. 

Intern testimonials

My internship at the ABA Commission on Immigration was one of the best professional experiences I have ever had. My main responsibility was to take calls from ICE detainees and help them in any way that I could. I learned an incredible amount about the immigration and deportation/removal process through researching the answers to questions that came up on the calls. It was a learning curve, but the environment of the office was one of the learning and asking questions, so we all learned pretty quickly. I felt like I had a real impact on the callers and that I was using my legal knowledge to good use.
The Commission also has a wonderful and supportive team. My supervisor was particularly attentive to the needs of the interns and made sure that we were being supported as we took calls. If a call was particularly difficult or emotionally taxing, he would suggest that we go for a walk or take the team out for a treat to commend good work. The other members of the Commission were equally wonderful in checking up on us, both in our work but also in our lives. They truly cared about us, which fostered a great team atmosphere that made us more productive in our work!
Overall, I loved my part on the Commission. I felt like I was a valued member of the team, I felt useful and effective in my work, and I felt like I was making an impact in people’s lives. I learned a lot from this internship and I made some life long friends and contacts along the way!

Marisa Tillman
University of Minnesota Law School, Summer 2019

Read more testimonials here!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the qualifications required? What are the availability requirements?

Law students and undergraduate interns must show a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and interest in immigration and refugee issues. Interns must demonstrate respect and compassion for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Spanish fluency is highly preferred and other foreign language skills are helpful.

Spring and fall semester applicants must be available at least two full days a week. Summer applicants must be available five days a week. All internships are a minimum of ten weeks long.

How do I apply? Is there a deadline?

Please submit a cover letter (please include your expected weekly availability), resume, writing sample (any length), and list of three references to: immcenter@americanbar.org.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

There is no deadline to apply. Applications are accepted until positions are filled.

Where is this internship program located? Is it paid?

This internship is specifically for our Washington, DC office. Summer internships will be held remotely, and Fall internships will be determined if remote or in-person.  If you would like to volunteer with one of our pro bono projects, please contact them directly.

This internship is unpaid, however, students may qualify for academic credit.