Afghan refugees in Iowa race to complete paperwork as deadline approaches
DES MOINES, Iowa (WOI) - Many Afghan refugees in Iowa are racing to complete their paperwork as we approach the one-year anniversary of their arrival in the U.S.
Families can apply for three types of status: special immigrant visa, temporary protection status, or asylum.
Iowa legal experts say many will apply for asylum, which is a path to permanent legal status and protection in the U.S.
“We’ve screened about 170 families,” Ann Naffier, with Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, said. “And right now we have less than 15 pro bono attorneys perhaps who have stepped forward being willing to take on an asylum case.”
Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Drake Legal Clinic, and Iowa Legal Aid are helping refugee families navigate the paperwork.
They say the one year deadline - August 25th - could mean some of them becoming illegal immigrants.
It could also jeopardize their ability to get other family members safely out of Afghanistan.
The groups are encouraging legal experts and interpreters to volunteer in helping the refugees.
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