June 3, 2022
Immigration providers say it’s necessary for Afghan asylum seekers to file within a year of their arrival in the U.S. if their case is to pass muster.
“I think everybody had some hope about the Afghan Adjustment Act to pass,” said Lilian Alba, vice president of immigrant and refugee services with the International Institute of Los Angeles, a refugee resettlement agency. “It didn’t pass, and so the pressure is on now more than ever. We are working against the clock.”
Alba said her organization and others are moving quickly to get Afghan refugees in for legal screenings if they haven’t had one, “working to ensure every Afghan family is able to file an asylum application no later than their anniversary date.”
The hardest thing about this, Alba said, is the emotional component. Already, the process of seeking asylum can be re-traumatizing, she said, forcing people to recount things they’d rather forget.
On top of that, “knowing now that they have only a few months to file an immigration application is adding a lot of anxiety, because families were hopeful that the government would be able to provide some stability and protection,” Alba said.