Afghan Legal Services Project
Attorney Volunteer Welcome Page
We are so happy you have decided to get involved with our work here at ALSP. We truly appreciate each and every one of our volunteer attorneys and the work that they do. By lending your support, you have become a valuable part of our efforts to help Afghans find and access immigration relief.
This page serves to provide you with all the information you need to represent your client in their asylum filing. Aside from this page, there is also an Attorney Resource page available for you with templates, samples, research, and other great tools that we have created for you. Our mission is to make this as easy as possible for our attorney volunteers. With that in mind, if you have any suggestions or think of something we could add, please let us know!
About the 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.
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 represent were advised to pursue asylum and have agreed to allow us to place their cases with a volunteer attorney. 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). After being filed with USCIS, affirmative asylum applications are forwarded and processed at a local Asylum Office. The local asylum office will then schedule asylum applicants for non-adversarial interviews, during which they are questioned about their case by a trained asylum officer.
Pro bono attorneys representing asylum seekers will file a Form G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance with the client’s application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and will receive notices on the client’s behalf from the USCIS pertaining to the client’s case. You will also respond to client concerns and questions, prepare your client for his or her interview and attend the interview with your client.
To ensure adequate preparation for participation in this project, Pro Bono attorneys 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 3.5 hours of training by completing the video modules in the table below. We encourage you to explore the other video modules and written materials offered in the Vecina training. If you have follow-up questions, please discuss them with your mentor.
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.
Required Training Modules
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
Terrorism-Related Bars (TRIG) | 25:15
Persecutor Bar and Serious Non-Political Crimes | 10:27
Submitting the Asylum Application Electronically | 5:46
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
What to Expect During the Interview | 33:13
Preparing the Client for the Interview | 8:52
Spouses and Children: Who Can Be a Dependent/Derivative | 9:52
How to Include Derivatives on the Application | 4:05
Engagement and Expected Timeline
Please execute an engagement agreement with the client indicating that you will not charge fees.
During the representation you should expect to:
Prepare Form I-589, Application for Asylum
Draft and finalize client affidavit in support of asylum
Assess supporting documents and evidence that may exist and take steps to collect this evidence, including, identification documents and documents to prove relationship with family members included in the application, if any.
Conduct country conditions research—Please see library of initial research on our Resource Site here.
Prepare a Memorandum of Law explaining the basis of each of the client’s claims for asylum
File a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance together with client’s asylum application package.
Provide client with information on next steps and respond to client’s questions and concerns
Conduct an asylum interview preparation session with the client after client receives an interview notice
Attend the interview with the client
ALSP expects that the application will be completed within 8 weeks of placement and that the session preparing the client for the interview will be conducted at least a week before the interview. If you expect it to take longer to complete the application or cannot conduct the interview preparation before the week of the interview, please reach out to Leslie Tabb at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the amended timeline and any additional resources that may be needed.
Communicating With Your Client
You will receive an e-mail granting access to your client’s file that will also indicate whether the client can communicate in English. If not, you will communicate with your client through interpreters.
To request an interpreter, contact Azizullah Mohammadzai at email@example.com and identify yourself as an Afghan Legal Services Project volunteer attorney.
Please include your client’s name, the way you would prefer to meet with your client (for instance, Zoom, telephone or in-person) and the date and time you propose to meet with your client.
Translation of Documents
All documents submitted with the asylum application that are in a language other than English must be submitted with a full English translation.
The translator must also sign a certification that the English language translation is complete and accurate, and that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.
You can submit documents for translation by e-mailing them to Azizullah Mohammadzai at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALSP Resource Site
You can access helpful resources, including FAQs and country conditions research by clicking here. The page is password-protected - you should have received the password along with your welcome email. If not, e-mail Leslie Tabb at email@example.com.
We will continue to add helpful items to the Resource Site, as items are developed or identified. If you want to suggest a resource to be added to the Resource Site, please e-mail Leslie Tabb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mentors and Office Hours
Immigration attorneys experienced with asylum applications have volunteered to serve as mentors. We will provide you with the contact information for a mentor who will help answer questions and direct you to immigration-related resources. We suggest that you reach out to your mentor right away to establish the best way to communicate.
In addition, Asylum Clinic Kansas City will hold office hours on Thursdays at 12pm during which you may ask any questions you have for us and listen to the discussion of others’ questions, as well. You will receive an invitation by e-mail to the weekly Zoom call when you receive your client assignment.
Important Application Preparation and Filing Instructions
The USCIS will expedite the asylum applications for Afghans who, like your client, arrived as part of Operation Allies Welcome. To ensure your client’s application gets expedited processing, you should follow these instructions:
Mark “Attn: OAW” on the front of the envelope. Please write it in large letters to ensure the USCIS mail room routes it correctly.
On page 1 of Form I-589, Part A.I., Question 19c, write “OAR (Parole)” in the Status field;
Include your client’s most recent date of entry in the Date field on page 1 of Form I-589, Part A.I., Question 19c.
Be sure to refer to the USCIS’ website for guidance in the “Where to File” or “Special Instructions” section (whichever applies) on the webpage for Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.
Your Vecina training has a short video (5:46) that covers the contents of the final package called “Submitting Your Asylum Application Electronically.” We recommend the video for pointers on preparing the final package but we do not recommend submitting the application electronically. Do not be surprised if the application package is large, particularly if your application includes a spouse and several children. If you would like advice or hands-on assistance assembling the application packet, please contact Ayse Tary at email@example.com to request assistance.
Register and Enroll in the course "Affirmative Asylum for Afghan Nationals" which is offered free through Vecina. (Link Above)
Complete video modules in the Vecina training. See list of required video modules above.
Execute engagement letter with client.
Complete asylum application and file with USCIS together with a Form G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance within 8 weeks of placement.
Prepare client for interview at least a week ahead of interview.
Attend interview with client.