In August 2021, as the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was underway, Afghans scrambled to equip themselves and their loved ones with immigration resources that the U.S. government failed to provide. For many, that included basic information about the immigration pathways that exist for those who have been displaced and refugees whose situations suddenly became more urgent. Because most efforts related to Afghans are focused on U.S.-allied or U.S.-affiliated individuals, the Afghans leading this project saw a direct and urgent need to file U.S. humanitarian parole applications as their only option to ensure the safety of their loved ones. For many Afghans, humanitarian parole is the only pathway to the United States.
Afghan lawyers and organizers, together with immigration lawyers from Centro Legal de la Raza and Pangea Legal Services, coordinated emergency response pro bono legal assistance efforts to train volunteer lawyers in a matter of days. We continue to pair volunteer lawyers and Afghans seeking humanitarian parole, fundraised and dispersed funds for filing fees to cover hundreds of applications, and continue to work with partners to create resources for these applications. Today, we are also working on advocacy efforts for humanitarian parole applications to be expedited and approved.