Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 30

FEATURE
SETTLING INTO A NEW LAND
By John Murph
A
rrival in the United States is just one
step in the long journey to a new life for
the thousands of Afghans who were
evacuated by air from Kabul last summer.
Temporarily housed at military sites in
various states as of September, most
evacuees are facing a red tape-filled road to
obtaining refugee status, a green card, and,
eventually, U.S. citizenship.
When the first wave of Afghan evacuees
arrived at Northern Virginia Community
College, Khalid A. Shekib, founding attorney
at Law Group International in Alexandria,
Virginia, was there to meet some of them
and talk about their legal paperwork.
" Many of them didn't know the next step.
They just knew that they were in the United
States, " Shekib says. " Some of them didn't
know that they had to apply for asylum. A
lot of these people didn't know what to file.
Many of them [also] wanted to know if they
had to go to Texas for processing and what
they [could] do if they didn't want to go.
Others said they have family and wanted to
meet with them rather than go to Texas. "
While going through immigration processing,
the evacuees are receiving food,
medical care, and other services at U.S.
military bases around the country. Although
an unknown number of those who fled
Afghanistan had Special Immigration Visas
(SIVs) - available to Afghan nationals who
assisted the United States' war effort and are
at risk of Taliban retribution - most entered
the United States on " humanitarian parole, "
which does not confer them the same rights
as refugee status when it comes to public
benefits and permanent residence in the
country.
Upon arrival in the United States, all Afghan
parolees are eligible for limited assistance
for up to 90 days, including short-term
housing, a one-time $1,250 spending
stipend, and medical care, and are issued
temporary work authorization. They cannot,
however, avail of the full range of services
available through the State Department's
Reception and Placement program. On
September 3, legislation was introduced in
Congress to make Afghan parolees eligible
for the same government services extended
to refugees, including a clear pathway
toward legal permanent residence.
SIV holders, on the other hand, are granted
lawful permanent resident status upon
admission to the United States and can
apply for citizenship after five years. Upon
entry they are referred to any of the nine
resettlement agencies across the country.
Their benefits include housing for the first
30 days, help with enrolling children in
school, connections to English language
classes if needed, enrollment in employment
services, and assistance in receiving
U.S. government funds to pay for rent and
basic necessities.
One of the benefits of resettling in the
Washington, D.C., area is that there's a strong
Afghan community, Shekib says. Facebook
groups like Afghans Living in DC and other
non-political community organizations help
newly resettled Afghans get connected to
immigration lawyers who can assist them in
securing permanent legal status. " Many in
these organizations have already gone
through the immigration process, " Shekib
says.
Another challenge facing the U.S. government
is the more than 100 unaccompanied
Afghan minor evacuees currently under the
care of the Department of Health and
Human Services. For those without family
members or sponsors in the country, they
may end up in long-term foster care
programs.
" There's going to be a lot of questions about
their legal status going forward, " says Wendy
Fu, director of pro bono for the New Yorkbased
International Refugee Assistance
Project, referring to unaccompanied minors
in general coming into the country. " They
are going to have to apply for permanent
legal status at some point. "
" The other population that I want to make
sure people don't forget are the people who
were not airlifted into the U.S., " Fu says.
" There are going to be huge influxes of
people into nearby countries. This effectively
is going to create a refugee crisis in
the region. Those are also a lot of people
who are going to need legal assistance. "
After leaving Kabul, nearly 14,000 Afghan evacuees arrived at Virginia's Dulles International
Airport in the last half of August.
Reach D.C. Bar staff writer John Murph at
JMurph@dcbar.org.
30 WASHINGTON LAWYER * NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
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Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021

Letter to Members
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Reforming Conservatorship: A Battle Over Best Interests
Legal Deserts: No-Man’s Land of Affordable Legal Help
The Unfinished Work of Equal Justice for All
Pro Bono Mentoring for High-Impact Help
The Afghanistan Fallout: Broken Promises & Processes
Taking the Stand
ABA Delegate’s Corner
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 4
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Letter to Members
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Reforming Conservatorship: A Battle Over Best Interests
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Legal Deserts: No-Man’s Land of Affordable Legal Help
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 18
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Unfinished Work of Equal Justice for All
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Pro Bono Mentoring for High-Impact Help
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 26
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Afghanistan Fallout: Broken Promises & Processes
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - ABA Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover4
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