Riverside Law Firm Webinar Looks to Help Afghans Seeking Humanitarian Parole
On Dec. 4, the Riverside-based Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic hosted a webinar that offered pro bono legal advice on immigration services.
The webinar gave a comprehensive overview of the form (I-131) needed to bring someone to the U.S. via Humanitarian Parole. Many local Afghan community members attended the webinar searching for answers on current policies and wanting answers on how to help bring family and friends to the states.
Dr. Selin Nielson is the President of the Glocally Connected. The non-profit partnered with the firm for the event and has been influential in helping bring several Afghans to the U.S. in recent months. “Everybody thinks that it’s like a free pass, but it’s not; it’s very difficult to get humanitarian parole status. There are certain criteria associated with it,” said Dr. Nielson.
Olavo Michel is an Associate Attorney with the firm and spoke on the application process. He said, “It’s a very slow-moving process, and now you take political tension and strife into the equation, and you just have a very complex and difficult process.”
Humanitarian Parole allows an otherwise non-eligible individual to enter the U.S. for a temporary period under the context of humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. According to Michel, since the U.S. announced their exit of Afghanistan, around 20,000 individuals have applied for parole, with only about 95 being accepted so far.
Michel added, “So there’s obstacles getting out of Afghanistan, there’s another obstacle of getting into another country that has a decent relationship with Afghanistan but also with the United States.”
Michel spoke of potentially why U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had accepted so few individuals so far. “But it seems that USCIS is overwhelmed with these applications. They really don’t know what to do with all of these, and they want to hopefully ensure consistency of adjudication across the board.”
Michel added that there are still many unknowns with the process and that with whatever an Afghan individual decides to do during these difficult times, that they do so safely.