This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Pro Bono Afghan Legal Services (PALS) at the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Connect Afghans with pro bono attorneys for immigration legal assistance

Posted February 9, 2022

Background & Context

Over 65,000 Afghans were evacuated from Afghanistan and brought to the United States. Primarily, these individuals were given parole status, however, this does not provide a path to citizenship. To become a lawful permanent resident (aka "green card holder"), they must apply for an "immigration status". The majority of cases PALS attorneys will assist with will be Asylum applications; however, they may also assist with Special Immigrant Visas, Family-Based Petitions, and Green Card Applications.

Afghan parolees are a vulnerable group, arriving in a new country with no guarantee they will be allowed to stay. They are faced with an overwhelming immigration process. They fear being forced to go back to Afghanistan where they could be harmed. PALS strives to provide our Afghan Allies with an attorney that can represent them, assist them with completing their application, or review their application, giving them the confidence and support they need.

Immediate Problem

In 2022, USCRI's PALS project was able to provide representation to more than 39 Afghan families and individuals. In 2023, we hope to double the number of families served!

Work & Deliverables

Lawyers will be connected with a pre-screened Afghan client to provide immigration legal services such as:
1) applying for asylum
2) applying for lawful permanent residence
3) applying for temporary protected status + employment authorization documents
4) attending asylum/LPR interviews with the client, either in-person or virtually

PALS provides pre-placement training, resources, and mentorship as well as interpretation services. PALS provides a set of templates in our "pro bono toolkit" and can provide a final review of applications before submission.

Project Plan

Preparation Phase

  • Receive a case with contact and background information
  • Attend an informational and educational training with PALS coordinator
  • Contact client

Collaboration Phase

  • Submit application(s)
  • Mail applicable signature pages to client to sign and return
  • Review or draft application(s)
  • Obtain additional information from client that may not be included in initial case assignment
  • conduct brief check-ins with PALS coordinator regarding status of case
  • monitor status of pending application(s)
  • Advise client on the appropriate application(s) and interview process (if applicable)
  • Attend interview (virtually or in-person)

Wrap Up

  • Explain outcome and further options to client
  • Provide brief summary of case history and outcome to PALS coordinator
  • Withdraw as representative (if applicable)

This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Additional Information

  • Time Commitment: 11-20 hours
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Additional Training Details: The PALS coordinator will conduct a training for new volunteers, who will then be assigned a case. The coordinator will be available for mentorship and support throughout the duration of the case.
  • Site-Preference: Remote
  • Open to Law Students: No
  • Bar License(s) required: Any Bar License
  • Required Languages: None
  • Preferred Languages: Dari, Farsi, Pashto
  • Required Legal Expertise: Human Rights, Immigration, Other
  • Mentoring Provided: Yes
  • Supervision Provided: Yes
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

USCRI is a refugee resettlement agency that has been resettling refugees in the US since 1911 and has been providing legal services since 2005. Our mission is to protect the rights and address the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide and support their transition to a dignified life.

Others have also checked out