Information on Afghanistan – what you need to know

Hundreds of Afghan families and individuals wait to board evacuation flights out of Kabul, Afghanistan.

 

Disclaimer: The following message is not offered as official legal advice, but rather to inform on the situation in Afghanistan, and provide general information on available resources. If you or a loved one needs legal advice on this issue, we strongly urge you to contact our offices as soon as possible.

 

What is happening in Afghanistan?

The situation in Afghanistan is extreme and complicated. The Taliban is in control of almost the entire country, creating serious constraints on the US government’s evacuation of US citizens, workers, and allies. It is reported that the US embassy is closed and has been completely evacuated. US citizens have been urged to make their way to Kabul airport in order to evacuate the country. This means that the only US authority still present in the country is located in and around that airport.

 

Dates and deadlines

President Biden’s Administration has publicly stated the US will continue its evacuation from Kabul airport until August 31st at the latest. This is still the current course of action, regardless of the Taliban’s claim on blocking flights from taking off. At this time, US forces and personal are still processing “Special Immigrant Visas”(SIV) on the ground at the airport. 

 

What are my current options to get to the United States?

There are, generally, two main situations facing those who wish to travel to the United States from Afghanistan at this time.

  1. For those who can leave Afghanistan, by one way or another, and fear staying in Afghanistan due to the Taliban takeover, entering the United States or a third country will potentially offer multiple options. For individuals who can make it to the US, there is the possibility of applying for asylum or other benefits of US immigration law. For those who can leave Afghanistan and travel to a third country, it would be helpful to contact a US embassy or consulate in that country and inquire about ways to gain admission into the US; such as through the United States Refugee Admissions Program, submitting an application for parole into the US based on humanitarian grounds, etc.
  1. For those who cannot find a way to leave the country, Kabul airport is possibly the only option for leaving. If you or the people you know can make it to the airport and gain entrance, it would greatly increase the chances of your/their evacuation to Doha, Qatar, and, from there, to the United States or other countries.

 

What now?

At this time the situation is incredibly dangerous and unpredictable. Kabul itself is in chaos, and news from on the ground is not reaching the United States in real time. Yesterday, August 26, 2021, we learned there were a series of terrorist attacks on the Kabul Airport. It is unclear, at this time, how this will effect evacuations and remaining flights to the United States. We will continue to update the blog with new material as it is learned.

 

What we suggest

Goldstein & Associates urges all people involved to exercise great caution. For those who cannot or do not wish to attempt entry into the Kabul airport, we recommend contacting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to find other options for evacuation.

 

The phone numbers for the protection hotline are:

079-069-1746 and  070-499-6168 (available on all working days)

You can also email their protection email atafgkaprt@unhcr.org.

 

Contact us for legal advice and free consultations

For specific legal advice about your relatives, please call our to set a free appointment with our experienced staff. Our numbers are 412-258-8080 and 215-982-2381. Please note, however, that due to Consular closures and backlogs, and severely limited immigration options under the current U.S. legal system for immigration to the United States, it may not be possible to obtain a visa at this time. Regardless, we will do our best to discuss your options and work towards finding a solution for your particular situation.

 

We are doing everything we can to help our clients with loved ones in Afghanistan, and are always willing to speak with those seeking to learn about what options may or may not be available.

 

If you or a loved one are in Afghanistan and are looking for a way to safely evacuate and come to the United States, we urge you to contact our office for legal guidance and to evaluate your options. We would be more than happy to connect you with a member of our staff to discuss your situation and come up with action plans during this chaotic time. You can call our Pittsburgh office at 412-258-8080, our Philadelphia office at 215-982-2381, or schedule a free phone or zoom consultation on our site using this link. We look forward to working with you. Keep safe.

Does the court block of Biden’s 100-day freeze on deportations affect you?

 

President Joe Biden sits in the oval office signing a stack of executive orders.

 

You may have seen some information on the news about President Biden initiating a ban on deportations for 100 days. We’ve also mentioned it in our previous blog post. This proposal came on January 22nd, and many of our clients and immigrant families across the United States were excited to hear the news.

 

This excitement was short-lived, however, when a Trump-appointed judge in Texas ruled to block Biden’s deportation freeze. This was the first major blow to President Biden’s immigration policy proposals. This challenge to Biden’s immigration related executive order may be the first of many. The new president has many progressive policies on the docket with his immigration plans, and we are sure there are more challenges to come.

Continue reading

An AILA analysis of Biden’s early immigration policies

The logo for the American Immigration Lawyers Association – AILA. The website where the information in this blog post was published.

 

President Biden has had a lot to cover in his short time in office so far. From reversing executive orders set by Donald Trump, to creating his own regulations and policies, the man has been exceptionally busy. In our past blog posts, we have broken down some of the immigration policy changes, both immediate and long-term, that are sweeping through the country. However, there are even more to add to that growing list. Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Biden’s shift on immigration: A positive force for the US

President-Elect Joe Biden speaks on immigration matters in front of a crowd. He is standing next to a man and putting a hand on his shoulder. The other man is holding an anti-deportation sign that reads, “Not 1 more deportation. Moratorium on deportation on day 1.”

 

Everyone, including us, has been commenting on the fact that immigration will be much easier with the new administration taking over in 2021. You may read about why it might be better to apply for a visa or green card now that Trump is old news and Biden is now in the hot seat – but how are the current policies and laws going to shift exactly? What needs to be done in order for regular people to experience any changes in the US immigration process? Let’s walk through a few things that need to happen in order for us to see a difference between the policies of Trump’s reign, and the immigration regulations of this bright new year.

Continue reading

How Central Americans are Affected by Obama’s Immigration Raids

deport

In May, the Obama administration announced the beginning of a series of immigration raids of Central American migrants to be carried out by ICE officers. Since the raids began, there have been 40 cases reported of women and children being mistreated by ICE officers. The arrests largely to place in homes, schools, and workplaces; some arrests included aggressive and inappropriate conduct according to CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project. Of these cases, more than half have valid asylum claims that have not yet been heard in immigration court and some didn’t even have deportation orders. It is clear that the Obama Administration is approaching this influx of Central American refugees as an illegal immigration problem rather than a humanitarian crisis.

It has been reported that gang-related violence, drug trafficking, and corrupt criminal justice systems have plagued Central American countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. As a result, families have fled from these countries to seek asylum in the U.S. despite women and children being the least mobile group-they don’t leave unless there is no other choice. While these migrants may have valid asylum claims, it has become clear that these immigrants have not had the chance to be heard in court. In fact, many did not have legal counsel or even receive a notice to appear in court.

Immigrants in removal proceedings are afforded all appropriate due process under the law. The number of migrants who are being denied this right in our nation’s immigration courts is growing rapidly. The Obama Administration’s response to this surge in Central American migrants is inappropriate and devastating to the immigrant community while ignoring basic humanitarian decency.

Goldstein & Associates urges anyone who is unsure of their status to contact us immediately online or via phone at 412-258-8080.

Obama Immigration Raids

13260226_557612724413200_2879551303306558359_nOn Thursday, May 12th, the Obama administration announced their intent to begin a “30-day surge of immigration raids”. The target of the raid will be families who did not show up for court appearances of who have defied orders for removal. The raids are in response to the doubling of the Central American family units apprehended at our borders with the hope that other Central Americans will be deterred from illegally entering the U.S.

These raids sound like something out of Trump’s immigration reform plan, but have actually been initiated by the Obama administration. Leading Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have staunchly opposed the raids. Rightfully so, as it appears that the raids will not have the intended effect on immigrants coming to the U.S.

The undocumented migrants that the raids are targeted toward are not coming here to work or conduct illegal business, but are simply fleeing from their home countries riddled with brutal violence and persecution. The targets are chiefly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador; it has been reported that eighty-three U.S. deportees back to these countries have already been murdered in their homelands. For that reason, it is hard to believe that this immigration raid will have the desired deterrence effect- “nothing will change people’s minds when they are literally fleeing for their lives” according to White House spokesman, Josh Earnest.

The lack of access to legal representation is a big reason that these Central Americans get placed in removal proceedings. In 2014, 86% of asylum cases from Central America lacked legal representation. An overwhelming majority of these detainees have a reasonable fear of returning home. This fear will be heightened as the immigration raids ensue. The Obama administration should reevaluate the proposed raids and take a more humanitarian approach to the immigration crisis in the United States.

Goldstein & Associates would be happy to discuss legal options for individuals and family units who may be affected by the proposed immigration raids. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm online or call us at 412-258-8080.