ALSP Volunteer Training and Orientation
About 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.
Our volunteers are key to the success of the project. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for assisting the Afghan community and making a difference in the lives of the applicants you represent.
Assisting Afghan Clients
How will you be helping?
Afghan evacuees were granted “parole,” a temporary permission to enter, that does not provide long-term or permanent immigration status in the U.S. After an initial consultation, the parolee(s) that you will be assisting were advised to pursue asylum. Since Afghan Parolees are not in removal (deportation) proceedings before an immigration court, they apply for asylum affirmatively, before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Those who have not be able to secure legal representation have agreed to attend our clinics in order to receive assistance compiling their application.
As a volunteer, you will be paired with an Afghan family or individual to help complete the asylum application, prepare their statement and assemble the evidence. The goal will be to produce a finished asylum application that the Afghan participant will submit pro se to the USCIS. We will provide materials to the Afghan participants with instructions on submitting their applications and what to expect as their case progresses
To ensure adequate preparation for participation in this project, volunteers must register and enroll in the course “Affirmative Asylum for Afghan Nationals” which is offered free through Vecina at https://vecina.teachable.com/ We request that you commit to approximately 2.5 hours of training by completing the video modules in the table below. You are only required to complete the modules listed below.
In some of the modules, they will discuss the use of a service called "Tarjimly" for interpretation - we do not use this service and you should disregard any information regarding Tarjimly.
We encourage you to explore the other video modules and written materials offered in the Vecina training. If you have follow-up questions, please feel free to send an email to email@example.com.
Required Vecina Training Modules
We encourage particular attention be given to the modules of Asylum Grounds. You will need to understand these elements when assisting the parolee(s) write their declaration as they form the legal basis of their application.
What is Asylum : Overview | 13:03
Elements of Asylum | 11:47
Persecution | 13:37
Nexus | 12:05
“Well-Founded Fear” of Persecution | 8:43
Asylum Grounds: Race, Religion, Nationality, and Political Opinion | 10:53
Asylum Grounds: Particular Social Groups | 17:09
Corroboration and Credibility | 13:54
Gathering Client-Specific Evidence | 4:14
Common Afghan and U.S. Civil Documents Your Clients May Have | 9:44
Country Conditions | 8:58
What Happens After Submission: Receipt, Biometrics, Interview | 2:17
Spouses and Children: Who Can Be a Dependent/Derivative | 9:52
How to Include Derivatives on the Application | 4:05
Other Important Information
Interpreters and Translations of Documents
Full translations of documents into English will be provided, and interpreters will be present on the day of the clinic.
Who will I be working with?
We aim to assign two volunteers to each application as well as an interpreter.
What if I need help or have questions?
Experienced immigration attorneys will be present at the clinic event to answer immigration questions. There will also be a range of staff available to assist with any document gathering and other administrative tasks as needed.
How long will this take?
We anticipate a 5-6 hour commitment on the day. Please arrive by 8:30am to have a quick orientation. The clinic will begin at 9am and is expected to finish by mid-afternoon.