August 25, 2021
Cincinnati, Ohio – The Immigrant and Refugee Law Center (IRLC) is deeply troubled by the demise of the rule of law and increasing human security crisis in Afghanistan and stands ready to help our Afghan community members in any way possible.
As the U.S. works to evacuate its citizens, legal permanent residents, and thousands of Afghan allies who have worked with U.S. military forces, non-governmental organizations, and media outlets — and face imminent risk of violence and death – we increasingly receive calls from Afghans in the Greater Cincinnati area who are desperately seeking evacuation for family members who are in danger. Afghan women and girls especially face security risks as their rights are curtailed under the oppressive Taliban regime.
Unfortunately, the process is not easy. The lives of countless Afghans depend on the U.S. government acting promptly to exercise humanitarian parole and rapidly scale up special immigrant visa (SIV) and immigrant visa processing; and on the legal assistance required to navigate these processes, which IRLC can provide.
Although the SIV and related P-1/P-2 categories for Afghans who have assisted the U.S. government were recently expanded, they still require referral from officials within the U.S. agencies for which individuals worked. We therefore urge active and retired U.S. military, corporate officers, and heads of U.S. media organizations or U.S. based NGOs who have a current or former employee in Afghanistan who needs assistance leaving the country to come forward. With their referrals, IRLC can help at-risk Afghans apply for these visas.
We also urge people who are trying to get family members out to continue to call us for assistance. In addition to assessing for SIV or P-1/P-2 status, IRLC can help review all other options, including humanitarian parole and petitions for immediate relatives of citizens and legal permanent residents. Lastly, we can enter data into systems requesting evacuation in the final days of U.S. military presence, however long that lasts, and following their departure. None of this can guarantee safe exit for Afghans, but we must and will do what we can to assist.
–Julie Leftwich, Executive Director
Immigrant and Refugee Law Center
The Immigrant and Refugee Law Center is a nonprofit organization that provides pro bono legal services to low-income Immigrant and Refugee families in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Contact us at 513-828-0577