INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/21/2022
IILA LAUNCHES AFGHAN LEGAL REPRESENTATION PROJECT
Volunteer initiative seeks to match pro bono attorneys with hundreds of Afghan families who face one-year asylum deadline
LOS ANGELES, CA, APRIL 21, 2022 – Over two hundred resettled Afghan families in Greater Los Angeles are facing a legal deadline to submit their asylum application so they can remain in the US and obtain lawful permanent residency. Most Afghan evacuees admitted to the US are on humanitarian parole, a temporary status, and need to apply for asylum within one year of their arrival. After asylum is granted, they can apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. IILA has launched the Afghan Legal Representation Project (ALRP) to ensure that Afghan families will meet the one-year asylum deadline.
In the eight months since the fall of Kabul to Taliban forces, International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA) has received 889 Afghans. Over two-thirds have found permanent homes and enrolled children in local schools. Nearly all are looking for jobs or have already found work. Now they need to ensure that they are on track to becoming lawful permanent residents.
However, the US immigration system faces severe system-wide backlogs and resettlement agencies across the country face many pending cases and delays. In addition, Congress has failed to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghan humanitarian parolees to adjust their status to LPR without going through the asylum process and drastically reduce pressure on the already-burdened immigration system.
Through ALRP, IILA is calling on legal professionals, particularly immigration attorneys, willing to provide pro bono services, and volunteers, particularly Dari and Pashto speakers, to aid in this process. IILA will match clients with volunteers this summer to work on their asylum application.
“Our Afghan clients are making great progress in their resettlement, but do not yet have the firm foundation for a new life that lawful permanent status provides. Asylum is the crucial next step,” said Cambria Tortorelli, President and CEO of IILA, “We are joining organizations nationwide to call on Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act. Until then, we will do everything we can to provide our clients with legal resources and match them with legal assistance. Our Afghan clients have escaped danger, gone through rigorous vetting, and many risked their lives in support of U.S. military efforts. We must continue to support them.”
In addition to legal representation, IILA is continuing to provide individualized case management, connect with health care and other public benefits, identify employment opportunities, and find permanent housing.
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 or contact Alex T. Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 224-3800.
Cambria Tortorelli, President & CEO
Alex T. Nguyen, Development Director