INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/19/2022
A YEAR AFTER THE FALL OF KABUL, AFGHANS MAKE GREAT PROGRESS RESETTLING IN LOS ANGELES IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINY
Nearly all are in permanent housing, working, and enrolled in school. However, Congressional inaction makes their futures uncertain.
LOS ANGELES, CA – This week marks one year since the fall of Kabul to Taliban forces and the evacuation of 120,000 people from Afghanistan. Soon after, International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA) worked with its partners at the federal level to receive and resettle 883 Afghan individuals.
Now, over 96% of IILA’s Afghan families have secured permanent housing. Many families have been connected to extended case management services, which aids with employment, education, and housing assistance beyond the initial three-month resettlement period. Over the past eight months, IILA has hired several new staff to work with this population, including Dari and Pashto speakers who are former Afghan interpreters and recent Afghan arrivals. IILA also made over 400 grocery and hot meal deliveries and about 2,400 rides to help transport families.
Most Afghan arrivals have humanitarian parole, a temporary legal status that allows them to enter the US and work for a two-year period. Last week, the Afghan Adjustment Act was introduced in Congress, which would allow parolees to more easily adjust their status to lawful permanent resident (LPR). However, until that bill is passed, parolees must apply for asylum within one year of their arrival. In response to this urgent need, IILA launched the Afghan Legal Representation Project (ALRP) earlier this summer to connect clients with pro bono attorneys and volunteers. IILA has just submitted the first six asylum application packets to USCIS, is currently finalizing 64 more with attorneys, and has at least 25 more still pending.
“Our Afghan clients have made incredible progress in the past year. Children are enrolled in school, parents are learning English or working, and families are becoming more ingrained in their communities every day,” said Cambria Tortorelli, President and CEO of IILA, “However, without lawful permanent resident status, many are uncertain about their family’s future here. The Afghan Adjustment Act is the crucial step needed to show our commitment to our Afghan clients who have escaped danger, gone through rigorous vetting, and risked their lives in support of U.S. military efforts. Congress must act.”
International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA) is a nonprofit founded in 1914 to help newly arrived immigrants in Los Angeles. IILA’s mission is to provide skills, abilities, and resources to help families become self-sufficient and to promote cross-cultural understanding. IILA employs over 150 staff that provide child care, legal aid, employment assistance, transportation, nutrition, case management and other services to refugees, immigrants, survivors of human trafficking, and low-income working families. For more information, visit www.iilosangeles.org.
Cambria Tortorelli, President & CEO
Alex T. Nguyen, Development Director