Thank you so much for joining our effort to assist Afghan asylees apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the United States!
Project Background and Overview
After years of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, our country officially withdrew its presence in August of 2021. Almost immediately, the Taliban overthrew the government and seized power, throwing the country into chaos. This chaos continues today. Many Afghans have died and thousands more are being hunted, looking for a way to escape. Some have been fortunate enough to enter the United States and have since applied for asylum or another status. But asylum is not permanent status. Now, in order to call the U.S. home permanently, these asylees need to file to adjust their status to that of Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). LPR status is often referred to as having a “green card” and is a pathway to citizenship.
Ways You Can Help
Pro Bono Attorney
Pro bono attorneys can sign up to assist an Afghan newcomer, and likely their family member(s), in completing and submitting their AOS application. As a pro bono attorney, you must have an active law license anywhere in the United States. For this project, attorneys will provide representation to your client while preparing their adjustment of status application. While the amount of time required to complete a case varies widely, we anticipate that most cases will require approximately 20 hours of attorney time over a 1-2 month period.
Attorneys will also submit these applications on behalf of clients, and may even attend their interviews. Interviews are not always required, but often are. They may not be scheduled for an interview for months, or even a year or two, and our funding for this project will not be in place at that time. You will be able to withdraw representation at that point, or you may continue on without our guidance.
Provide Administrative Assistance
If you aren’t a licensed attorney, you can still help! Admin volunteers will be paired with attorneys 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 hours of time over a 1-2 month period is required.
Serve as a An Interpreter
While VECINA does have access to interpretation services through our current funder, having an interpreter assigned to a case is incredibly helpful! Many Afghans 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 AOS case under our project, you can expect the following support:
VECINA has created an online training/resource bank for anyone assisting an Afghan national with their adjustment of status application. All of our training modules are set up in “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 the AOS application.
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 regularly with a VECINA mentor and several other pro bono teams to talk through your strategy and questions. Then we have regular virtual office hours where you are welcome anytime to 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!