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Protection Associate (UNOPS, LICA-6), Rio Grande Valley

Washington D.C. (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Washington D.C. (United States of America)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-14

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Title: Protection Associate, Individual Contractor (UNOPS)
Contract type: Local ICA
Contract level: LICA-6 (GS 6)
Department/office:  UNHCR US Southern Border Team (Rio Grande Valley)
Duration: 7 month contract starting from 06/01/2021 with a possibility of extension

This Position is advertised open to internal and external applicants.

General Background
UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. We deliver life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. Every year, millions of men, women and children are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict and persecution. We are in over 125 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions. - Provide regular analysis of political, social, economic and cultural developments that have an impact on refugees and asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border;
- Support UNHCR cross-border operations in partnership with the wider UNHCR U.S. border team and the UNHCR field staff in northern Mexico, and in close coordination with U.S. federal, state and local government entities and NGO partner and community-based organizations;
- Represent UNHCR in local and regional coordination bodies, including local welcoming committees;
- Monitor asylum processing at the border, including accelerated screenings and immigration courts;
- Advance UNHCR initiatives to provide legal assistance and support to persons of concern at the border in support the implementation of UNHCR¿s national legal empowerment strategy at the local level;
- Provide support to individual asylum-seekers in particular need, in coordination with the Washington office as appropriate;
- Contribute to child protection plans at in the area of response, in line with the UNHCR strategy;
- Contribute to effective information management through the provision of disaggregated data on populations of concern and their problems;
- Assist in the establishment and regular functioning of various coordination mechanisms with governmental and non-governmental partners in the border region. 

- Completion of a bachelors degree in is required; Completion of a juris doctor (JD) or an LLM from a U.S. law school highly desired. Coursework and / or clinic in immigration law is strongly preferred.

Required qualifications and experience:
- At least 4 years of relevant work experience. Up to 2 of those years may be substituted by time spent in higher education (for instance, a candidate with a juris doctor may count higher education for 2 years and needs to show 2 more years of relevant work experience).
- Experience with handling sensitive or confidential data. 
- Direct services experience is a strongly preferred.
- Strong written and oral communication skills.
- Good time management skills.
- Strong team orientation and demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively in a high-paced and often stressful environment.
- Experience with dealing with the public and diverse stakeholders.
- Fluency in English and professional proficiency in Spanish are required; proficiency in other UN languages an asset.

Key Competencies:
- Judgement and Decision Making
- Analytical Thinking
- Political Awareness
- Stakeholder Management

Desirable skills and competencies:
- Completed the UNHCR Protection Learning Programme.
- Strong IT and information management skills and demonstrated understanding of protection data collection methodologies. IMPORTANT NOTE:
Persons interested in applying for this position must be legally present in the United States at the time of application, recruitment and hire.
Non-US citizens must have legal residence with valid work permission in the US for the duration of the contract.

Applications will be accepted only via the online portals. Please do not send application via email.
Incomplete and late applications will not be accepted. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. For any technical problems during the submission of application or any further information, please send an email to

Shortlisted candidates may be required to sit for a written test and/or oral interview.
UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, processing or any other fees).
UNHCR strongly encourages qualified female applicants to apply. UNHCR seeks to ensure that male and female employees are given equal career opportunities.
UNHCR is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms gender, disability, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.
See below for this postion's Operational Context
======================================================================================================== Operational Context: 
Since 2013, asylum-seekers from the North of Central America, Mexico, and other regions have arrived in growing numbers at the U.S. southern border, including rising numbers of family units and unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) travelling within mixed flows. Reception practices and systems that were originally built primarily with single male undocumented migrants in mind are inadequate to manage the challenges involved at the border. Given the current challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border, UNHCR has established a field office in San Diego and a field presence in El Paso, and has expanded its technical engagement with U.S. government entities at the border, as well as extended its interactions to include state and local government as well as civil society stakeholders in the southern border states. UNHCR in the U.S. has also strengthening its cross-border coordination with our counterparts in Mexico, as UNHCR Mexico has expanded its operations and partnerships in the northern border region (with direct field presence in Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez, and remote coverage of other border points from Monterrey). UNHCR¿s cross-border teams are presently supporting the U.S. government and local stakeholders on both sides of the border to implement operations to facilitate safe re-entry to the U.S. of asylum-seekers enrolled in the `Remain in Mexico¿ program (MPP).

Within the above-mentioned context, UNHCR is planning a modest expansion of staffing to strengthen cross-border operations, technical assistance and engagement with relevant government entities and civil society, all with a view to improving access and quality of protection enjoyed by asylum-seekers. UNHCR is recruiting for a Protection Associate (Individual Contractor - UNOPS) to be based in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas USA, as part of the small border deployment team whose team leader is based in San Diego. The successful candidate will provide support with a wide range of activities, including building and maintaining effective and collaborative relationships with relevant federal, state and local governmental authorities, civil society stakeholders and UNHCR field teams in northern Mexico. The successful candidate will work closely on facilitating daily protection operations in partnership with UNHCR Mexico colleagues; engage cooperatively with US federal agency counterparts and municipal/city/local government counterparts in the border region to find solutions to day-to-day challenges; coordinate with border shelters, humanitarian NGOs, legal service providers, members of local welcoming committees, and other important stakeholders to identify and respond to needs and strengthen humanitarian response; work to expand legal support and legal empowerment for asylum-seekers at the border; and support with internal reporting activities. While the majority of time and effort of the Protection Associate will be focused on activities in the Rio Grande Valley, travel to other border sectors in Texas or in the southern border states may be required. While some cross-border travel is anticipated, all cross-border movement would be undertaken in strict adherence with UN staff security guidelines.  This position reports to the Protection Officer based in El Paso, Texas. The closing date for submission of application is May 4, 2021 (Midnight Geneva time).
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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