Turning Fear into Hope for Afghan Asylum Seekers

December 14, 2022

Carmen M. Chavez, Esq. – Executive Director, Casa Cornelia Law Center

Casa Cornelia Law Center is a sponsored ministry of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

In August 2021, the U.S. Military withdrew from Afghanistan and evacuated nearly 76,000 Afghan nationals to the United States. The U.S. government resettled this population across U.S. cities and granted them two-year humanitarian parole. This means that they can remain in the U.S. for two years and are able to obtain benefits designated for refugee resettlement assistance.

However, humanitarian parole does not grant them a permanent stay in the country, nor a path to citizenship. Should these individuals and families choose to remain in the U.S., they must apply and secure asylum or another permanent status. An overwhelming majority of these individuals and families will choose to stay in the U.S. rather than return to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, where they will surely face persecution. As such, anyone desiring to stay in the U.S. must submit an asylum petition within two years.

The staff and volunteers at Casa Cornelia Law Center have been working tirelessly to help as many Afghans as possible. The Law Center continues to recruit more volunteer attorneys, interpreters, and translators to assist with both the volume of cases and language barriers.

As of October 2022, Casa Cornelia has assisted approximately 150 single adults, unaccompanied Afghan children, and family groups who evacuated from Afghanistan. Just this past month, we received news that one of our clients — a teenage boy who arrived in the United States without any family members to accompany him was granted asylum. We are hopeful that many more will realize a similar outcome in the coming months.

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