Afghan Help

Colorado Afghan Legal Services Project web header
Catholic Charities of Denver
Colorado Afghan Legal Services Project mobile header

Background

Due to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and resulting chaotic evacuation of Afghans to the U.S., there are an unprecedented number of Afghans in the U.S. needing immediate and urgent pro and low bono legal services. With the exception of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, the majority of Afghan evacuees entered the U.S. with a status known by many names, including “port parole,” “humanitarian parole,” “parole,” and likely others.

This “status” is not a permanent immigration status, nor is it a path to lawful permanent residence (green card status) or U.S. citizenship. Rather it temporarily allows these individuals to remain the U.S. for two years, and, in the case of evacuated Afghans, also includes work authorization and benefits usually only afforded to resettled refugees and asylees.

In order for this population of evacuated Afghans to remain in the U.S., they will need to pursue other paths to lawful permanent residence before the two-year parole period ends (for most this is August/September 2023). These paths include, but are not limited to: family-based petitions for spouses, children, and (for U.S. citizens age 21 or older) parents; Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for interpreters, translators, or individuals employed by the U.S. government in Afghanistan; and asylum for those facing a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, political opinion or particular social group, upon return to Afghanistan.

Vision & Objective

Colorado has resettled about 2,000 of the Afghans evacuated to the U.S. since August of 2021. Infrastructure to meet this population’s immigration legal needs does not currently exist. Catholic Charities of Denver’s Colorado Afghan Legal Project hopes to be a significant step in building that infrastructure, by developing a state-wide asylum workshop model, providing direct legal services to Afghan parolees, creating referral pathways for immigration legal services beyond our capacity, as well as building capacity in the community to provide these needed immigration legal services now and in the future.

Project Structure

The Colorado Afghan Legal Project is based at Catholic Charities of Denver (CCD). Thanks to funding from the Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund, CCD’s immigration legal program now houses an Asylum Workshop Coordinator to oversee this project. Because the need for affirmative asylum legal services will likely far outpace availability of immigration attorneys in Colorado, this project utilizes an asylum workshop model to assist the majority of asylum applicants through the process unrepresented.  Workshops are staffed by trained volunteers, who are paired with families to prepare applications for asylum and compile evidence in support of those applications. Every application for asylum is reviewed by an immigration attorney before filing.

For more information about our Project, read our Project Overview or our FAQs.

Outcomes & Impact

We’ve completed more than 100 applications in our workshops since April and are looking forward to completing more at our upcoming sessions. 

Summer 2022 Workshops:

July 16

Colorado Springs

 

July 30

Northglenn

 

August 13

Northglenn

 

August 27

Northglenn

September 10

Northglenn

 

September 24

Northglenn

 

October 3

Northglenn

 

October 22

Northglenn

Ways to Help

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation

While the Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund has enabled us to establish our project and hire an Asylum Workshop Coordinator, we are still in need of funding to add staff and capacity for direct immigration legal services representation for cases not appropriate for the workshop setting.  Make your tax-deductible donation here.

Help Fund Interpretation

The two main languages of Afghanistan are Dari and Pashto.  Because of the sudden increase in the need for interpretation in these languages, interpretation is in high demand.  Make a tax-deductible donation to our interpreter fund here (select Dedicate this gift).

Make an In-Kind Donation

Our workshops need supplies.  Consider donating from this list of needed supplies.  Donations can be shipped directly to our office or dropped off at designated times.

Sponsor a Workshop

Consider paying the costs of one workshop, including office supplies, technology, food for volunteers, interpreter stipends, and other related costs. Available sponsorship levels are available here. Sponsors will also receive recognition for their contribution here.

Volunteer at a Workshop

We need volunteers to staff our workshops and help Afghan parolees in Colorado apply for asylum and remain safely in the United States.  View the volunteer training here and sign up to volunteer at one of our upcoming workshops here.  You don’t have to be an attorney and no prior legal experience is necessary.

Take a Pro Bono Asylum Case

Are you an attorney looking to take on pro bono work for your firm or as an individual?  We can pair you with an Afghan asylum seeker and an experienced immigration attorney mentor.  Sign up to take a pro bono case by emailing Tracy Harper at tharper@ccdenver.org.

Be a Pro Bono Attorney Mentor

Many attorneys in Colorado want to help but have no immigration law experience.  If you do not have time to take your own pro bono asylum case, consider becoming a mentor by contacting Tracy Harper at tharper@ccdenver.org.

Thank You to Our Donors and Workshop Sponsors!

Our project was featured by the Denverite. Read the article to learn more.