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Monthly Newsletter: JULY

Opening Doors Joins Coalition to Address

Legal Needs for Afghan Evacuees

Last August, thousands of people were evacuated out of Afghanistan.

While they're now safe from fear of persecution or retaliation because of their partnership with U.S. troops, their long journey toward a life of safety and stability has just begun.

Now safely in the U.S., evacuated Afghans receive temporary legal status but, with no new laws or policies to ensure a clear path to permanent status or citizenship, their futures remain uncertain.

For Afghan evacuees resettling in Sacramento, some are able to utilize Special Immigrant Visa or family-based green card options, but the majority will have to apply for asylum and there aren't enough low- or no-cost immigration attorneys in the area to process thousands of complicated and lengthy asylum applications.

To address their unique legal challenges, organizations around the country like Opening Doors are employing creative strategies to leverage existing legal pathways for permanent status for Afghan evacuees.

What is asylum?

Asylum is form of legal protection for people who are physically present in the United States, who suffered and/or fear future persecution in their home country.

What does

pro-se mean?

Pro se” is Latin for “in one's own behalf.”

Understanding legal options for Afghan evacuees

The path to legal permanent status for Afghans evacuees is not easy.

Click below for an easy-to-read explainer from the National Immigration Forum about the evacuation process, the types of the legal options available for Afghan evacuees, and more information about common terms -  showing how complex this process can be.


SCALE: Meeting This Urgent Need 

Opening Doors has joined forces with World Relief, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) to form a coalition called Sacramento Coalition for Afghan Legal Empowerment (SCALE), who, as a group, will host ‘pro-se’ asylum workshops beginning in July 2022.

The coalition will, as a group, host pro-se workshops that match each client with a preparer (an attorney or highly-trained legal assistant) and an interpreter, if needed, to help clients complete the asylum application packet, organize their supporting documents, and provide additional information on the asylum process. The coalition is also planning for subsequent workshops to help asylees prepare for the interviews.

While these workshops are intended to serve the majority of Afghan evacuees with asylum claims, they won’t be able to serve every evacuee. To ensure the coalition is utilizing its limited resources as efficiently and as equitably as possible, Opening Doors’ Immigration Legal Services team will screen all potential clients who then will be either invited to an asylum workshop, offered representation by an Opening Doors attorney, or be referred out to partner agencies.

Opening Doors is proud to be a part of this innovative collaboration between local partners to provide comprehensive immigration legal services to our newest neighbors. 

The Work of Welcome: Policy Alerts

Opening Doors Welcomes the End of 'Remain in Mexico'

Policy and Calls on Congress to Act in Interest of a

Just, Humane Asylum System

Opening Doors applauds last week's Supreme Court ruling affirming the Biden administration’s authority to end the “Migrant Protection Protocols”, a cruel immigration policy requiring asylum seekers to be returned to Mexico while awaiting adjudication of their cases in U.S. courts.

Although the Biden administration tried to end the program, the termination was challenged in courts, leading to its continued use until last week’s ruling. Under the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” tens of thousands asylum seekers experienced violence and persecution upon their expulsion from the United States, either from the very danger they initially fled or from new threats along the border. In tandem with the administration’s continuation of Title 42, expulsions - which has been used to expel at least 8,000 Haitians since September - the U.S. immigration system is in turmoil.

We applaud this decision and encourage President Biden to immediately end the Remain in Mexico policy, while also asking the administration to lead efforts with Congress to now end Title 42, an important step towards fully restoring asylum.

Calling on Biden Administration to meet its commitment to resettling refugees in FY 2023

Right now, the Biden administration is considering how many refugees the United States will commit to resettling in Fiscal Year 2023.

With 100 million displaced people in the world, including more than 36 million refugees, it is vital that President Biden set a robust refugee admissions goal and invest in strengthening our nation’s capacity to welcome.


Now is the time for state and local elected leaders to take a stand and urge the President to welcome refugees in the coming fiscal year. Reach out to your mayor, city council members, state legislators, and governors to ensure that the voices of state and local communities are heard!

Contact Your State and Local Elected Leaders:

Ask your local lawmakers to sign this letter by August 29th, calling on the President to meet his commitment to resettle refugees now and in fiscal year 2023.

You can look up your local elected officials here.

You can access sample emails/call scripts here, a template outreach email to elected leaders is here, or fill out an auto-generated action alert here. 

Welcoming refugees.

Defending immigrants.

Supporting survivors.

Enriching communities.

Opening Doors to all.

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