As you all probably know, our region is home to a large Afghan community, so we are in the midst of a traumatized community with many families seeking services in the hopes of helping family members leave Afghanistan. The City of Fremont responded immediately, setting up www.fremont.gov/ARHelp as a way to raise funds to assist, and many people are responding daily.
PARS Equality Center, is leading the legal response. PARS has a huge need for more help and they can train lawyers and /or legal assistants to do this work.
How to Start Volunteering
- Contact individuals by phone and email to initiate the process of screening to see if the individuals still has a need and if they were evacuated, etc.
- Determine if a Humanitarian Parole (HP) application is appropriate.
- Determine if congressional advocacy is appropriate.
- Determine if the individual needs other assistance (such as applying for e-visa or to the Canadian refugee program for example)—case-by-case determination.
- If HP, then they have to determine if there is a US sponsor (for form I-134), I-131 (can be different) and if they have the fee to pay for the applications OR will be fee waiver eligible. (I am working on videos and materials on fee waivers and filling out the I-134). IF so, then
- Start to get documents and info to fill out form I-131, I-134, maybe I-912 and collect supporting documentation
- Take down any case specific info and write the US persons’ support statement (usually a very short but specific declaration, even 1 page is enough if it contains specific details as to why this person needs humanitarian protection.
- Prepare the packets and either have the US person file Pro se or go on record (ideal so they can assist at steps 2 for nonimmigrant visa application and congressional tasks, etc.) or ask pars attorney to send a G-28 after reviewing the case so that a PARS legal rep is the attorney on record and will be responsible for stage 2.
- Mail the packets to USCIS (shipping costs).
- We also may need folks local to San Jose once we get more packets in house (stage 2) to assist with tasks related to assembly, filing out of DS160s etc. This would be better to be sporadic and onsite with us (maybe a couple volunteers not many) due to COVID-19 restrictions and space limitations.
PARS desperately needs attorneys or volunteers willing to do the actual work. Many of the inquiries they receive have 1-10 or more family members listed on them. That is why firms are not taking too many off their hands. It has been a grueling two weeks of assigning these hundreds one by one. One estimate is that there are 2200 sheets left to assign. They have already assisted over 1100 individuals and have filed hundreds of HP packets!
Below is the public folder for PARS volunteers that houses resources.
For more information or to volunteer, please visit the PARS website: https://parsequalitycenter.org/
For free legal assistance for Afghans, please contact the organizations below:
Pars Equality Center: Matches Afghans in need to volunteers for immigration legal assistance, provides immigration legal services at their two Pars center, and holds a monthly pro bono clinic in Fremont, California at Afghan Coalition along with a myriad of pro bono legal events/clinics.
Please complete the Afghan Support intake form if you need help for an Afghan National that is not in the United States:
For Afghan Nationals that are in the United States that have an immigration legal service need please email: email@example.com
Visit our Afghan Support Project Resources page here for legal resources for Afghans (including a video on how to file humanitarian parole): https://parsequalitycenter.org/afghan-support-project/
Pars Events are listed here: https://parsequalitycenter.org/events/
International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) – For inquiries from people who are overseas and outside Afghanistan: https://de/irap
Jubilee Immigration: Please call 415-813-1958. Limited capacity for SIV Visas, may be able to assist with Humanitarian Parole. Jubilee serves clients at or below the 250% Federal Poverty Level. Website: https://jubileelegal.org/
Immigration Institute of the Bay Area: https://iibayarea.org/offices/fremont/. Fremont office phone number: 510-894-3639 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.