The Headlines May be Gone but the Crisis continues for Afghans
Renée Wolforth, RPCV Mali (99-00)
You’ve probably seen the headlines, the photos, and maybe even videos. Thousands of terrified people flocked to the airport in Kabul, desperate to flee Afghanistan during the chaotic last-minute evacuation, after the Taliban took the city and therefore control of the country, last month. After a 20-year war that the U.S. started, Afghanistan and its people have been seemingly abandoned overnight. We were all inundated with these images for weeks. Though the crisis is no longer making headlines, it still continues.
Despite their initial promises to respect women and press freedom, there are daily reports of the Taliban increasingly restricting rights in Afghanistan. Many of you may have seen the photo of a plane full of people leaving on one of the last flights from Kabul before the 31 August deadline for the U.S. withdrawal. Afghans who managed to evacuate now face the challenge of finding a place to go, even temporarily, as they seek a more permanent home.
The main barrier to Afghans being able to get out of the country or to get to a safe place is getting legal status in another country. There continue to be lawyers around the world seeking options for those still in country to evacuate and supporting those who have been able to leave but still need help in securing legal status. This includes a group of female attorneys, from around the world and committed to supporting human rights, working pro bono (volunteer) for a number of Afghans who are trying to get Humanitarian Parole to the U.S. from Afghanistan or 3rd countries.
For those of you looking for a way to support their efforts, here is some info:
1) One of the main tools that lawyers are using to get Afghans safely to the U.S. is through Humanitarian Parole. Humanitarian Parole is used to bring someone faced with exceptional circumstances who is otherwise inadmissible into the United States for a temporary period of time, so that they may then apply for asylum or seek alternative legal pathways from a place of safety. More on the application process here
2) The fees for applying for Humanitarian Parole are extremely high, especially for those who may literally have only the shirts on their backs. The application fee of $575 is not for a whole family but has to be paid for EACH individual within a family. Even for a small family of 4 people that means $2300 in fees just for the application. See the link above for specific info on the fees.
3) If you are willing and able to support some fabulous pro bono (literally "for good," but means "volunteer," essentially) attorneys to pay the Humanitarian Parole application fees, you can learn more and DONATE here. Larger amounts can also be made out to the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, whose Executive Director is part of this pro bono team. Email: LSforAfghans@gmail.com for more information.
4) If you and/or your organization are willing: Humanitarian Parole applications also require applicants to have a local financial sponsor. If you are interested in becoming a SPONSOR, please email: LSforAfghans@gmail.com
For more info on SPONSORSHIP, go here.
If you have any questions or want more info that you don’t find above, you can email email@example.com