Thank you so much for joining our effort to assist Afghan nationals with applying for asylum in the United States!
Project Background and Overview
After years of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, our country has officially withdrawn its presence. Almost immediately, the Taliban overthrew the government and seized power, throwing the country into chaos. Many have died, and thousands more are being hunted, looking for a way to escape. Some who have been fortunate enough to enter the United States, but most were only granted temporary “parole” status. They now need to apply for asylum to seek permanent status due to the persecution they would face if they were forced to return to Afghanistan.
Ways You Can Help
Pro Bono Attorney
As a pro bono attorney, you must carry an active law license within the United States. For this project, you will be preparing and filing an application for asylum on behalf of an Afghan national. While the amount of time required to complete a case varies widely, we anticipate that on most cases approximately 40-60 hours of attorney time over a 5-6 month period is needed. You will enter your appearance as the attorney of record when filing the petition, and will prepare for and attend the interview at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office.
Provide Administrative Assistance
If you aren’t a licensed attorney, you can still help! Admin volunteers will be paired with attorney and will assist in filling out the forms and preparing all the documents. Similar to the attorney role, the amount of time required can vary widely, but we anticipate that in most cases, 10-20 hours of time over a 5-6 month period is required.
Serve as a An Interpreter
While VECINA does have access to some on-demand interpretation services, having an interpreter assigned to a case is incredibly helpful! As most asylum seekers have experienced significant trauma, speaking to their attorney through a designated interpreter in their heart language helps them feel at ease. In order to participate in this project as an interpreter, you must be fluent in English and Dari or Pashto.
As always, we can’t do what we do without our supporters! We would love for you to donate to support this project, as well as VECINA’s other work fighting for immigrant justice. Donations of any amount are appreciated!
If you take on an affirmative asylum case under our project, you can expect the following support:
VECINA has created a very robust online training course for anyone representing an Afghan national in affirmative asylum proceedings. The training modules are set up to be “bite size pieces” so that you can review content as needed instead of watching a long webinar. In the training course you will find videos, checklists, templates and samples, which provide a great foundational support as you work through your case.
Even with the robust training course, we know that you’ll have lots of questions! Our group mentorship model is set up cohort style, so you’ll meet with a VECINA mentor and several other pro bono teams to talk through your strategy and questions as you begin. Then we have regular virtual office hours where you are welcome anytime to come and ask questions, or just to listen!
If you’d like to sign up for our project, please fill out the form below and we will be touch. Welcome to the team!