Welcome to the Afghan Legal Services Project!
After the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, approximately 76,000 Afghans were evacuated and brought to the United States. Primarily, these individuals were given parole status that allowed them to remain in the United States for 2 years. Parole status provides no assurance that they can remain in the United States after their parole expires. As a result, Afghan parolees are a vulnerable group, arriving in a new country with no guarantee they will be allowed to stay and faced with an overwhelming immigration process. They fear being forced to go back to Afghanistan where they could be harmed.
Missouri received 1,750 Afghan evacuees for resettlement in Fall 2021. The Missouri Office of Refugee Administration has designated Asylum Clinic Kansas City to serve as legal services coordinator for the resettlement agencies serving Afghan evacuees in western Missouri. We are proud to serve this role and invite you to join us in this important work.
How can you help?
To remain in the United States, each Afghan parolee must apply for a new immigration status. To address the needs of hundreds of Afghan parolees, we will need the help of many volunteers willing to help us throughout several phases of the project. We expect to have a range of volunteer commitments depending on the time you can commit.
If you are a legal professional or law student (in Kansas City or elsewhere) and are interested in volunteering with our project, please review our Volunteer Opportunities. Then express interest using our Legal Professional Volunteer Form, and we will be in touch shortly with more information. If you are not a law student or legal professional but would like more information on how to volunteer to assist with an in-person clinic (greeting and directing volunteers, set up/clean up and scanning documents), please express interest via our Non-Legal Professional Volunteer Form.
Finally, please also consider Donating to help support Asylum Clinic Kansas City’s work. We appreciate your support!
Volunteer Opportunities for Legal Professionals
Mentor (Licensed Attorney - Immigration Specialist Only)
Asylum Clinic Kansas City expects some attorney volunteers to represent Afghan parolees. While we will provide access to training for volunteers without a significant background in immigration law, we anticipate that they will have questions as they meet the specific needs of the Afghan parolees. The mentor will address nonspecialists’ questions and provide case strategy expertise. We can design this opportunity to meet your needs. For instance, mentoring can be arranged as virtual “office hours” for a limited time period each week.
Asylum - Full Representation (Licensed Attorneys Only)
We expect most Afghan parolees will need assistance to apply for asylum based on fear of persecution if returned to Afghanistan. Attorney will file a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and represent the client throughout the application process. Congress has instructed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to interview Afghan evacuees within 45 days after they file an asylum petition, and to generally issue a final decision within 150 days, so we expect quick adjudication. Interpreters will be provided, as necessary, to ensure clear communication. Attorney will be provided access to training and materials to aid in the preparation of an asylum application as well as access to an immigration specialist mentor that can answer questions and provide case strategy expertise.
Attendance at Interview (Licensed Attorneys Only)
After client has filed an application with the immigration service and received a date and time to attend an in-person interview with an immigration officer, the attorney will help prepare client and attend the interview. The attorney will be expected to take notes during the interview and, if needed provide clarifications or explain facts to keep the interview on track. We will provide training, as needed.
Pro Se Clinic Volunteer
Volunteer will attend a clinic event in person to assist a parolee in completing an application for temporary protected status (TPS) and/or an application for asylum. We expect the time commitment to be approximately 5 hours. Interpreters will be provided to ensure clear communication. Volunteer will be provided access to training and materials to aid in the preparation of the application. There will be no ongoing commitment after completion of the application and declaration. Parolee’s case will be completed during the clinic or referred after the clinic for further development and support.
Attorney Consultation (Licensed Attorneys Only)
In each consultation, the attorney will screen the parolee for eligibility to apply for certain forms of immigration status and then communicate conclusions to ACKC for a legal services referral. Consultation will include an interpreter, as necessary, to ensure clear communication. We will provide training, as needed, including the opportunity to sit in on consultations with an immigration specialist. Consultations can be arranged either in person or virtually to suit the needs of the attorney and the parolee.
Special Immigrant Visa - Full Representation (Licensed Attorneys Only)
Some parolees will qualify for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV). SIV status is available to Afghan nationals who meet certain conditions and were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan or by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Attorney will file a Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and represent the client throughout the application process. Interpreters will be provided, as necessary, to ensure clear communication. Attorney will be provided access to training and materials to aid in the preparation of an SIV application as well as access to an immigration specialist mentor that can answer questions and provide case strategy expertise.
Asylum - Pro Se Assistance
Volunteer will arrange a time to meet with a parolee in person and assist in completing an asylum application and drafting a personal declaration supporting the asylum claim. Interpreters will be provided, if necessary, to ensure clear communication. Volunteer will be provided access to training and materials to aid in the preparation of an asylum application. There will be no ongoing commitment after completion of the application and declaration. Parolee’s case will be referred on for further development and support.
Volunteer Opportunities for Non-Legal Professionals
Clinic Event Volunteer
Greeting and directing volunteers, set up, clean up, scanning documents, administrative work, etc., at a designated clinic event scheduled over a weekend or some other specific time.
Long Term / Regular Volunteer
This volunteer can be a part of both special events and regular volunteering. Job duties include a variety of needs.
Translator / Interpreter
For those that are fluent in Darsi, Farsi, Pashto, English, etc., you may be able to act as an interpreter at special events or other meetings as well as provide translation services for documents that we receive from Afghan clients (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.)
If you feel like you have a special qualification or would be able to help in a way not already listed, please let us know.