United States

US Program Immigration Intern (Graduate)

Preferred Location(s)

Los Angeles, CA (United States)
San Francisco, CA (United States)

Position Type



Spring 2018


ID Reference



The US Program of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a graduate student (J.D. candidate preferred) to intern for the Spring 2018 semester in the San Francisco or Los Angeles office. Ideally, the candidate will be available for a period of 8-14 weeks. The US Program is currently researching issues surrounding US government abuses on the US-Mexico border, the treatment of Central American children and families, the privatization of the immigration detention system, and the impact of immigration detainer policy on immigrant crime victims’ access to justice. 

Internships are unpaid. Students are often able to arrange academic credit, as HRW internships offer direct exposure to the workings of an international human rights organization, close supervision by the HRW staff, interaction with other US and international organizations and foreign and domestic government officials, and opportunities to attend lectures, trainings, and special events relating to human rights. Students should check with their individual academic institutions for requirements.


The intern will primarily focus on researching the aforementioned topics, organizing and evaluating information obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, researching international human rights standards, reviewing fieldwork interviews, and contributing to HRW’s advocacy goals through press and social media. The student will intern closely with the immigration researcher. Other projects will be assigned as the opportunity arises.


The intern must be an enrolled student for the duration of the internship term. Applicants should be well-organized, self-motivated and reliable with demonstrated research experience. Relevant coursework in immigration, human rights law, and advocacy are desirable. Familiarity with US immigration issues and experience completing social science research (sociology, anthropology, political science, etc.) are a plus. Fluency in Spanish is strongly preferred. Computer skills (i.e., Microsoft Office, internet applications) are required. Experience with more advanced computer programs that can assemble graphics and compile statistics is highly desirable. 

Applicants who are offered an internship, but who are not US permanent residents, US citizens, or in possession of a valid student visa, must apply for a J-1 visa through a sponsoring organization. This process can take several weeks and applicants will have to incur their own costs.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

About Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

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